Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings everyone,

I would like to have my plans for introducing eight Russian Queens into 8 hives started with Italian packages this spring confirmed/criticized.

Four of the hives have built up reasonably and are working on their 2nd deep. Two are singles with the original Queens that have at least some brood and there are two other singles that were reQueened with Italians 2 weeks ago - again some brood but not exceedingly robust.

The plan

Day 1 - capture the queens from all hives, put into queen cages and bank as insurance.
Day 2 - put queen cages with Russians into each hive after the hive has been queenless for 24 hours. The cork covering the candy will be removed but the candy will not be punctured. Each hive has a division board feeder which will be filled with 1:1 syrup plus Honey Bee Healthy.
Days 3-6 leave the hives alone
Day 7 - refill feeders if necessary (just 1:1, no HBH) - non invasive inspection to see if the queens have been released
Days 8-13 leave the hives alone
Day 14 - invasive inspection looking for larvae & brood, remove queen cages

That is the basic plan. Two of the doubles had no brood in the top box when inspected today. Presuming they are that way when I install the Queens next week (they are shipping on Tuesday) - what is the preferred technique? Do I install the Queens where the brood is in the Bottom deep or do I move a couple of frames of brood into the top box and install the queen there?

And... I have some Global Pollen patties on hand. Would it help to give each hive half of one?

So many questions... Why am I doing all this? This yard is on an organic farm operated by an environmentally conscious college - we want to see for ourselves the ability of Russian Bees to live with mites with minimal soft treatments. I was not able to purchase Russian nucs or packages this spring so this seemed the best way to get a yard of Russians started.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
Day 2 - put queen cages with Russians into each hive after the hive has been queenless for 24 hours. The cork covering the candy will be removed but the candy will not be punctured.
Day 2 - put queen cages with Russians into each hive after the hive has been queenless for 24 hours. Leave the cork covering the candy in place for three days.

Day 5 - uncork the candy but don't pierce it.

Note: I would remove the attendants from the cages. If you don't be sure to report your results...I haven't used press-in screens but that would be another choice...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the suggestions. I will report what I finally do and the results. While I hope for 100% acceptance I'll be pleased with 75%.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
BeeCurious is right about not removing the cork.

I just placed a Russian queen in an Italian hive, and got specific instructions from Dwight Porter. 24 hours queenless, 3 days with the cork, then let them chew their way to her. Took a full week before my queen was out & accepted. Of course, now I have another problem...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
They have apparently rejected her after less than one week. Found one frame with started queen cells along the bottom, and two weeks later, no queen and no more brood.

Not sure what I could have done wrong as I was only in the hive once when I confirmed her release, and the next time, only brood and no queen. Very aggravating...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
An update, as promised:

6 of 8 currently laying queens were captured today and placed in a variety of previously used queen cages, the candy hole covered with masking tape. I dropped 1 other queen by accident (she was kinda puny anyway) and one queen escaped detection in a very populous double deep. The Russian queens should arrive tomorrow. The 6 captured queens are in a temporary queen bank. There will be an open hive at my house on Sunday and I'm sure I'll find good homes for the queens.

Tomorrow morning I'll have another go at finding queen #8 and will trim down the population of the hive by giving some capped brood and attached bees to other colonies. If I still can't find queen #8 I'll make up a nuc to install the Russian into and do a newspaper combine later on (after having found the current queen)

My local post office has been notified, and I expect a call from them around 7:30 tomorrow morning.

Question: How do you normally put queens into queen cages? I held a queen cage next to the plastic queen catcher and waited for the queen to walk in. Several took their sweet time doing so (15 minutes). There's got to be a quicker way.

Question: Is it ok to put freshly made candy in the cages containing the queens?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
Did you place these caged queens with some bees/attendants?

Are you planning to remove the attendants from the new cages?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some of the newly caged queens have attendants - those where bees wandered into the cage before the queen. I made a temporary bank by putting a queen excluder and shim above a double deep hive with honey super. There were plenty of bees in the honey super.

I plan to remove the Russian attendants before installing the queen cages.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Update #2 - The first queen was installed this afternoon - and she was not welcomed by her hivemates. There were within seconds close to 40 bees crawling over the cage. I had removed the attendants and put a piece of masking tape over the candy as there was no cork. She should be safe in the cage... If I was doing a same race requeening I would have pulled the cage and tried again later. But I guess this behavior is expected.

Removing the attendants was more time consuming than I had imagined. First it was tough to get any bees out of the cage and then before I knew it the queen was out and flying around the cab of my pickup. She lighted on the passenger window and I grabbed her easily with a plastic queen catcher. Then I had a hard time getting the rest of the attendants out of the cage. They must have liked it there. Once the cage was empty of attendants the queen quickly took up residence again.

I ran out of time this afternoon and so I'll have another go at introducing the rest in the morning.

Earlier today I caught the last Italian queen and made up a nuc as my queen supplier sent me an extra Russian queen. Thanks Bob! So tomorrow morning will be 24 hours queenless for them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update #3 All the queens (except one who went missing in the cab of my truck) have been installed without attendants. I ended up using a bug baffler head net as a queen muff and once I did the process moved right along. The emerging attendants seemed more interested in escape than anything else which I'm sure helped my blood pressure. Summary: 2 installed after 24 hours queenless, 6 after 48 hours. I went through the hives thoroughly when catching the Italian queens earlier in the week - no swarm or supercedure cells seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update # 4 - The first two queens had the masking tape removed from their cages today - 3 days after installation. The bees around both cages were all face in, apparently taking care of the queens. One hive had already chewed through the masking tape, but had not yet started on the candy. The other six get their training wheels (masking tape) off tomorrow. Beautiful day today after a very rainy Sunday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The queen in the truck is AWOL - never saw her again after my daughter spotted her on the back window while I was taking her (my daughter) to work. I pulled over to the side of the road and tried to catch her (the AWOL queen) but I wasn't quick enough.

Update # 5 - The masking tape has either been removed or chewed through by the bees on the last six cages. All hives have finished their initial syrup and I will refill the feeders tomorrow. I risked a quick look at cage #1 whose tape was taken off yesterday and the queen is still in the cage.

Any thoughts on giving them pollen? I have a box of "Brood Builder" that will probably go bad if I try to save it for next spring. I don't know that it will help, but it can't hurt, right?

As an aside, I've used two of the original Italian queens to requeen problem hives (meaning hives with problems) in my home apiary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update # 6 - all 8 queens have been released. Hives were not manipulated today - the queen cages were removed, division board feeders refilled with 1:1 sugar syrup, and each colony given a global pollen patty. There is so much natural pollen available right now that the patties most likely won't help much, but I had them kicking around and so thought I'd rather give them to the bees than have them rot before next season.

On the next visit (7/28) I'll look for brood, eggs & larvae.

I'm thrilled with the results so far! It makes the removal of the attendants from the queen cages seem totally worthwhile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
I thought I was being careful, but I lost two of my R. queens.

Someone suggested really leaving them alone at the beginning. I think I would follow that advice next time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update # 7 - Looks like 6 of 8 queens (75%) were accepted and are now laying. I did not go through the hives myself, but was looking over the shoulder of the 2nd year beek who did. The stronger hives had finished off their pollen patty - too bad I don't have any more to feed them but then again there are tons of natural pollen available to them now.

I will check the hives we believe queenless next week and plan to newspaper combine them with a queen right colony if I verify they are queenless.

Even though I thought I'd be happy with a 75% take, I find I'm disappointed. Go figure.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top