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How does the first emerging queen kill other queens that are still in their cells? Do they sting thru the cell to get to them or what? That cell wall seems kinda thick for them to sting thru.........
 

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I wondered. Maybe Larry Conner or Dave Miksa knows. Or someone on beesource. I hope you are enjoying the liquid sunshine.
 

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I have seen comments many times that cells in an incubator will all be destroyed if one virgin gets loose. It may seem like a lot of chewing but from what I have gathered one virgin will devote the time to get it done.
 

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I have seen comments many times that cells in an incubator will all be destroyed if one virgin gets loose. It may seem like a lot of chewing but from what I have gathered one virgin will devote the time to get it done.
I've gathered/heard that also, but who knows for sure how it's done???
 

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I think it's a pretty safe assumption that the virgin is working in concert with workers. She needs only to attack and penetrate the cell, the workers are doing the "heavy lifting" required to clean them out and dispose of the unhatched virgin. A lone virgin in an incubator rarely does much, if any, damage.
 

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I "hear" you Jim, and they are my assumptions also. I would really just like to know from someone who knows (witnessed it)....
 

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Someone needs to set up an observation hive and raise a set of queen cells in it w/ a camera continuously recording. Maybe one from each side, just in case.
 

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I "hear" you Jim, and they are my assumptions also. I would really just like to know from someone who knows (witnessed it)....
Well, I have witnessed the aftermath. I have seen what a virgin can do in an active hive in a few hours and I have seen what she can do in the same time frame all alone and there isn't a comparison. Having lost about 150 beautiful cells to virgins in the past 48 hours it's a subject near and dear to my heart.
 

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Having lost about 150 beautiful cells to virgins in the past 48 hours it's a subject near and dear to my heart.
Well maybe someone who has witnessed it can comment here and satisfy our curiosity......
 

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According to preliminary data obtained from close observation of the observation hive, virgin queens spent 35.1 min in biting the sidewall of queen cells with a pupa and a total of 63.5 min on average (n = 5; Sonezaki, 1988) for the whole destruction, from the encounter to leaving the queen cell. The selective queen cell destruction probably contributes to sav- ing time that might be spent in destroying younger queen cells for use instead in searching for and destroying the fully matured queen cells. The results suggest that the pre-emergence queen cells may emit some stimuli by which virgin queens recognize them. Some reports suggest that this may be a chemical stim- ulus. Queen cells emit queen-pheromone-like chemicals (Boch, 1979; Free and Ferguson, 1982), which may reach the highest level just before emergence
. -- Virgin queens selectively destroy fully matured queen cells in the honeybee Apis mellifera L. Insect. Soc. 51 (2004) 253–258
 

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. -- Virgin queens selectively destroy fully matured queen cells in the honeybee Apis mellifera L. Insect. Soc. 51 (2004) 253–258
So it takes a little over and hour for the virgin queen to kill a queen still in the cell? Am I reading that correctly?
 

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I am just now looking into this. Those guys clocked it at an hour. However, it appears that the queen isn't always the one who kills off the pupae. For example:

Sometimes, queens attacking cells do not sting the occupant, instead departing after having only chewed a hole in the cell. Stinging occurs most often when a cell’s occupant has pupated and is ready to emerge. Workers near a cell that is under attack either ignore the visiting queen or enlarge the hole that she chews in the wall of the cell. The workers eventually tear down queen cells that are damaged by emerged queens and dispose of the queen pupae that occupied them.
-- Three mechanisms of queen elimination in swarming honey bee colonies. Apidologie 36 (2005) 461–474
 

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They definitely have some sort of mechanism for identifying virgins about to emerge as they will ignore newly capped cells yet can be seen aggressively attacking the sidewalls of "ripe" cells in the same builder. Based on the amount of damage they do in such a short period of time they certainly need help from workers. It may well be they simply "mark" their targets and let workers do most of the dirty work.
 
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