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Compared to last Fall, Winter, and Spring, I have noticed that many more virgins are failing to return to their nucs after mating flights.

There are higher temperatures, but that's no different than the two Summers before now (when this issue wasn't as pronounced), and there is a dearth (so I've been feeding). But I've noticed that some virgins return to mating nucs other than their own, where they are sometimes balled and killed, twice I've had a virgin enter my queen cell builder and destroy some very nice queen cells :(. I now have a piece of queen excluder covering their entrance - hopefully that will prevent that issue in the future.

I wonder if there has been an increase in predation of my virgins when they leave their hives on virgin business flights. Has anyone else noticed a similar issue in Summer?
 

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Yes, we have! Same problems. Virgins in the cell builders and every other dang place they don't need to be. I've got excluders on my breeder hives because of those $100.00 queens, but I don't believe it will keep a new virgin out, mated or not. I did have success in one mating yard by painting the front of each hive a different color. Got to do the rest now. Sure is ugly though! :D
 

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Joseph; just got back in after selling 2 hives to another couple. The virgins strike again! I went out with the intention of final checking the hives and marking the queens. First was OK and marked the queen. 2nd one I noticed that one frame had multiple eggs in every cell and even some laid on top of worker larva. Found the queen and she looked very young but was laying up a storm as I watched. Caught her and marked her and as I put her back on top of the frames I noticed another dead queen down in the bottom. I had just thoroughly checked both hives over the weekend and both had excellent queens, no cells. Had to be one of those dang wayward virgins and looks like she just started laying today. I hated giving them a bum queen so I got another hive ready for them. I've never seen so many dumb queens that can't find their way back home. :scratch:
 

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Hi Joseph,

I'm sure you have enough experience with queen production by the sounds of it. Usually when a virgin goes to another queen's hive, there are three main reasons:
1) too many mating colonies located in the same location with same color boxes
2) the mating box has a low amount of pollen, or has protein deficiency
3) the queenless hive is strong and fanning too much, which will attract another queen
This happens in a summer that has a shortage of pollen in the area.
You can check my website for more information on mating queens, etc. @ www.caspianapiaries.com

Regards,
Hossein
 

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I've been trying a little bit of queen rearing this summer. I've been using 2 frames of brood in a 5 frame nuc as a mating/overwintering nuc. I've been having about a 50% success rate with queens.

I attribute it to being a beginner...just working out the kinks. (The yard is right beside a barn with many barn swallows - they may have an impact.)
 

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I have had almost 100% success when I use a 5 or 10 frame nuc as a mating nuc. But when I use a smaller nuc, either a mini nuc (worst) or a 2 frame medium my take rate goes down to 50%. So I think it is more to do with the pollen / protein like Hossien stated. The nucs are all spread out pretty well and marked pretty well.
 
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