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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to use a "queen-muff" while removing the attendants from some queen cages in about 3 weeks.

Once the attendants are released I'd like them to return to the battery box to tend to the queens for maybe two or three days. I thought of placing a piece of syrup soaked sponge in the battery box and then place the muff (containing the box) in a dark closet for a while to attract the bees into the box.

I could tap some nurse bees into the box but that will require a 16 mile drive...

Any suggestions?
 

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It is not that hard to coax them into the battery box in the muff. They will be attracted to the queen already. It is difficult but not impossible to put them back in the queen cage. I guess you are of the school to remove attendants from queen cages thinking they will be rejected more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
More than a few very knowledgeable breeders and beekeepers advise removing the attendants.
 

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Buy from a queen supplier that has the attendants on the outside of the cages. I've recieved/handled thousands of queens and have never had to deal with attendants.
 

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Last spring I introduced 6 queens, and removed the attendants from the queen cages. Did it on the tailgate of the truck. Sad part of it was, the attendants started fighting and killing each other. Had never seen this before. Didn't know if it was because I was doing several queens at once, before introducing them into the hives, or what.
 

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If I buy queens that have attendants in their cages, I leave them in there w/ the queen. But if I keep them long enuf so that some attendants die, I fish them out w/ a hook made out of a paper clip.

America, putting attendants into a queen cage isn't hard at all. You just have to be patient and careful. How do the attendants get into the cage in the first place? Probably by hand, one at a time. I do this when the attendants have diede or need replacing and I'm not going to use the queen real quick.
 

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I've always removed the attendants. Done it thousands of times, but never with a mitt. I just sit in my truck with the windows rolled up. Pull the cork and let the attendants come out. If queen wants out forst then catch her as she leaves the cage. If no one wants out, blow hard on the screen when a worker gets near the cork hole and she'll shoot out. Takes no time for 20 or 30 cages. I can remove the attendants about as fast as my help can install the cages into the nucs. MIchael Bush watched me one day...we shoulda made a video Michael.
 

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Last year when I requeened a hive with one of Michael Bush's Queens (with attendants) I just put the queen cage in and it took them a few days to get through the candy and the queen and attendants to get out. When I checked the hive again, no bees in the cage, but there was a laying healthy queen in the hive. I assume this was the queen I installed? I hope leaving the attendants in the cage wouldn't have caused any conflict that would have killed the queen in the cage. Oh well...I guess long time ago now and the queen appears to be healthy this spring.
 

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Michael Palmer, I'd love to see a video of that! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I guess you are of the school to remove attendants from queen cages thinking they will be rejected more.
I guess I am, and there may be more believers. The following is from a recent posting:

So far, the bees have killed 3 of the 5 workers in the cage. They were biting and pulling that screen like I have never seen before. There is only one worker left in the cage that is alive.

Has anyone ever seen them kill attendants through the queen cage? I double checked the hive again and made dang sure there was not another queen present. I have never witnessed somoething like that before. You couldn't budge the bees on that cage at all. What are the chances they could kill her through that cage if they got ahold of her attendants? I am a little worried about her.....If they kill the last worker, there won't be a single bee to attend to her. I am hoping they are better this evening, thats for sure!!! She is a new queen....
Clearing the cages of bees was easy enough. The queens came out first most of the time, but I needed to exhale lightly on the cages to get the attendants out. It was interesting to see how many tried to return. I was amazed (or perhaps surprised) to see how easy it was to get the queens back in. Placing the cage in front of the queen and watching her walk in was really neat.

I was a little concerned about the process of removing the attendants, but having a Queen Muff (mine came from Dadant) made it a snap.
 

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>Michael Bush watched me one day...we shoulda made a video Michael.

It was amazing to watch. I know I couldn't do it without a lot of practice...

I like the queen muff. The cab of a pickup or a bathroom window work fine too. But the muff is handier for me as I often don't have either of the other two handy...
 

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I opened mine yesterday and got the last dead attendant out from the war that the cage sparked. The queen walked right back in and I closed and corked her. I gave them about 15 minutes to see how they were reacting and they were trying to get to her unlike i have ever seen. By the time it was all said and done, I ended up having to remove a stinger from the queens face....it was that bad. I added another layer of screen to her and put her back in. I don't think i have ever felt that bad for an inspect before.........I have the pics to back it up...LOL
 

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Someone at our bee club spoke of his technique which involves simply inserting a short length of clear plastic tubing and let the bees march out. If it was an attendant coming down the tube, he'd let it fly off to do its own thing, if it was the queen, he'd direct her into a marking tube or wherever he wanted her.

The tubing made it easy to see who was coming out next and have time to react.

Wayne
 

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That must be your 'bee truck' MP - if my wife got in mine (or if I let her), I wouldn't be able to find her amidst at least a good days worth of dragging out drills, hammers, saws, nail & screw boxes, cigar wrappers and a plethora of assorted paperwork including receipts and quarterly payment coupons from the IRS.

That's it.. I'm using the wife's vehicle from now on (she's so neat).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The tubing made it easy to see who was coming out next and have time to react.

Wayne
That is such a cool idea! And would have worked perfectly with the California Mini Queen Cages with the candy tubes.
 

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Oh great! Now something else to worry about! Who woulda thunk it, that there would be some sort of conflict between attendants and the package bees. Post arrived a few days late, so the queen & her partisans have been sitting in the hive now for 3 days. Is there any sign of a coup I should be looking for over the next few weeks other than a stinger in the queens head?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Did the queen in your package have attendants in with her?

That is not the norm...

I'm still trying to find the article or study done by Dr. K. Delaplane on attendants.
 

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3 - but nothing was mentioned of them during pickup. I see there are different opinions - the majority being :eek: Any follow-up advice or articles will help the uninformed.

For me and those in a similar situation, I guess that it is a 2-week do-not-disturb period, then hope for the best. I'll obviously check the queen cage when I pull it out over the next few days, but they could have dragged her body thru the streets of the hive and discarded her lifeless body in the gutter of the bottom board.
 

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I think they will be fine....long as they are being accepted....and as sad as it is, I killed that queen, not the hive. They are queenright. I have no clue how me, and another beek both missed her 3 times, but i found her today. Shes a beauty. Now my son can bury his dead queen...
 
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