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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How long to leave queen after mating?

This is my first year using queen castles. I've always placed my cells directly into queenless hives without moving them around.

I just did my first round in 4, 4 way castles. Of the 16, I ended up with 15 mated queens.

How long should I leave a new queen to lay before using her to replace existing/old queens? Once I confirm she's viable and see capped worker cells? As soon as I see eggs?

I plan on grafting again this week. This should give the queen 20 days before I remove her and add another cell. However, I could graft much sooner if able. Is it also common to cycle out frames? They are packing in nectar/brood and I'm thinking of removing a frame to give to other colonies and replacing with an empty. These little two framers can sure do work!

Do I have it right? A lot of info out there on getting the queens, not much on continuing the cycle.
 

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Re: How long to leave queen after mating?

This is my first year using queen castles. I've always placed my cells directly into queenless hives without moving them around.

I just did my first round in 4, 4 way castles. Of the 16, I ended up with 15 mated queens.

How long should I leave a new queen to lay before using her to replace existing/old queens? Once I confirm she's viable and see capped worker cells? As soon as I see eggs?

I plan on grafting again this week. This should give the queen 20 days before I remove her and add another cell. However, I could graft much sooner if able. Is it also common to cycle out frames? They are packing in nectar/brood and I'm thinking of removing a frame to give to other colonies and replacing with an empty. These little two framers can sure do work!

Do I have it right? A lot of info out there on getting the queens, not much on continuing the cycle.
When the queen has capped brood is the earliest point, but longer time does only good for their acceptance. Frame cycling should be done when congestion is getting serious.
 

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Re: How long to leave queen after mating?

I catch 16 days after giving cell. Queens usually begin laying at day 11 or 12. My acceptance this past summer...330/335 in new nucs. Can’t believe leaving them in the mating nucs for 21 or 28 days would increase acceptance
 

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Re: How long to leave queen after mating?

I catch at 14 days, but mostly place virgins so I have a bit of schedule flexibility. Alows me to keep a weekly schedule were I do the same task on the same week day all season...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, yesterday I was going through the hives and found that one of my 2019 queens was being replaced. There were several frames of huge supersedure cells. The hive was fairly large and filling supers quite nicely. I'm not sure why they thought they needed to do this, but the bees know best.

I did the math and my last round of queen cells were placed 17 days ago. They had older brood and looked great!

I took the queens out, marked them, placed them in queen cages, and placed the frames with queen cells into the queen castles I took the queens from.

The new queens were used to replace the hive I just split out, some older queens with smaller numbers, a defensive hive, and the others were placed in a few very weak nucs where I can only suspect the queens were failing.

I'll check them next weekend and hope it all went well!

I'd imagine that as soon as they start laying they are good to move? Maybe leaving them a little longer will stress her out less? I can only really experiment and find out what works for me, I guess.
 

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My matings can be very erratic, especially towards the end of the season - so I like to see capped worker cells for confirmation before pulling a queen. In practice the queens stay in situ longer than that, as I don't usually need to meet customer targets like some of you guys.
LJ
 

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Re: How long to leave queen after mating?

I catch 16 days after giving cell. Queens usually begin laying at day 11 or 12. My acceptance this past summer...330/335 in new nucs. Can’t believe leaving them in the mating nucs for 21 or 28 days would increase acceptance
What Mike said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Success. Mike was right as usually.

Checked the new queens and day 17 worked great with 100% acceptance. I could easily do day 17, this was just how my schedule worked out.
 

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Mike was right as usually.

Checked the new queens and day 17 worked great with 100% acceptance. I could easily do day 17, this was just how my schedule worked out.
“To put it shortly: The acceptance of a queen is not only by her odor determined; her behavior has a role too. A fully mature queen, a queen which has been laying eggs for a longer time, is behaving more calmly and is therefore accepted with absolute certainty. And this is true even when all commonly accepted and as compulsory regarded security measures, regarding the art of giving a queen to a colony, are ignored. The odor of the queen or the colony, which I doubt even exists, plays no role in this matter. The behavior of the queen is the only thing which matters, and her behavior depends on her condition.
“Recently mated queen is nervous, and easy to scare. The smallest disruption, opening the hive for instance, can put her life in danger. In couple weeks’ time her behavior changes thoroughly. Her movements and reactions become calmer, more like a true matron. In the age of four weeks is she a fully mature queen.”
“There is nothing more dangerous and problematic in the modern beekeeping than the lost of a high-quality queen, the production of her has cost time, money and work."

A translation from “Meine Betriebsweise” by Brother Adam, 1978, page 22-23, original German version.

And the loss of a queen means not necessary death, but also her ability to perform as a top quality queen.
 

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Obviously MP knows what he is doing, what he sees, and how well it works, so no argument there. But is there anything to the theory that her ovarioles are still developing as she begins laying and the longer she lays (to a point...) the better she will produce over her lifetime?
 
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