when making a nuc, do you need to leave it queenless for 3 or 4 hours or can you put your queen cage in as soon as you make it and be good to go?
running out of day here and would like to get this done.
Yeah, I usually make nucs up from frames from a couple of hives. I smoke everyone good to mask who they are when I add frames from another hive and then put the cage in. When the smoke clears everyone is still confused and unlikely to fight.
Waiting overnight would be nice though. I used to do that, but now I just use smoke. I like to get the queens in since they have been traveling for a few days usually. I don't direct release.
Leaving them queenless is probably best, but that requires another trip to the beeyard.
While the queen acceptance rate may be the best if you wait 24 hours, it isn't that much better if you use a queen cage with a candy release.
I've requeened after being queenless for 24 hours, and I have stuck a new queen in when I took the old one out because I didn't want to have to come back and mess with them the next day. Both methods worked for me.
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