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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the best ways to introduce a virgin queen into a hive? This is my plan to try. Im going to make up some five frame nucs with only two frames of bees in them. Mostly frames of emerging brood. With young bees on them. Maybe some capped honey or open nector also, but will be feeding the nucs. Im going add the frames of emerging brood. and then shake some more bees in on the nuc. I will leave the nucs in the same yard as the frames and the shook bees came from. So most of all the old forage bees will go back to the main hive. Then Im going to let them be queenless for a few days. And the day before I introduce the virgins Im going to look in and make sure there are no queen cells anywhere in the nucs. Then the next day Im going to introduce the virgins in there queen cages with the corks still in place. Then the next day come back out and see how the bees are acting toward the virgins then if they act good toward the virgins. I will pull the cork and expose the candy. Also I think I may try to spray mist the bees with syrup with HBH mixed in. and give the queen a soaking if the bees act like they will accept her. And just turn her loose in there after about 3 days of being in the hive. I think my method will work pretty well, but does anyone else have some other methods or tricks for doing this? I know it can be a little tricky sometimes. I want the nucs to have no new eggs or young brood and no queen cells. And be queenless for at least two days after that before introducing the virgin. Let me know what you guys think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Or I could use a push in queen cage for a couple days over some emerging brood and open nector. Then mist the virgin and the bees with syrup mixed with HBH. and turn her loose if the bees are not trying to ball her. Ive always just used queen cells or mated queens This will be the first time trying to introduce virgins. So all tips will be appreciated.
 

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Be careful putting virgins in a cage, sometimes they starve and die since they have no queen smell yet so the bees don't feed them. Also, when I have used small breeding nucs, I just tossed the queen in and dumped in a load of bees. Works for small disoriented colonies, i guess.
 

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Curious, why are you introducing virgins? Not that its crazy, but cells are far easier. I got into a time/weather bind 4 days ago and had to introduce 6 virgins. I've had various levels of success and it seems to be dependent upon relative pheromone makeup of the bees you're dealing with, time of year, nectar conditions, the age of the virgin, and who knows what else :) This past time, I made up small two frame nucs ( I believe small is better - fewer bees the better), but of course it must be viable to handle weather and other pests and colony pressures. Leave them queenless overnight and the next day introduce the queens. I've tried candy release and direct release and this year I did an immediate direct release on 4, with the other 2 caged overnight. The next day I went back and released the remaining two. I watched very carefully for about 10 minutes to see how the bees treated the new queen. Some queens immediately go about their business without much notice, others seem more defensive and kick up their back legs nearly immediately when inspected. Everybody seemed to get along this time, but I haven't checked back yet to monitor progress. Last year I got a breeder with very different genetics than the bees in the small nucs and I suffered large losses. This year I'm a bit gun-shy, but still hopeful. Again, if you've got the option go with cells - pretty much a sure thing.

Oh, and your comment: "give the queen a soaking if the bees act like they will accept her" I would probably recommend against. I think a mist of the HBH mixture is probably not a bad thing to do inside the colony, but I don't think soaking the queen is beneficial in any way. I try to avoid altering the smell of the queen if at all possible.
 

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The few times that I did it, I just dabbed a little honey on the queen's thorax and let her run in the entrance, never had one rejected doing it that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The reason i was going to try this is because I wanted to buy some virgins, but wanted them mated locally. That was my plan. Ive used cells lots of times its easy to do. Introduced lots of mated queens Ive never had a failure yet. But I have never tried virgins. I would probably be better off with buying mated queens, but I guess im one of them people that has to learn the hard way. Some beeks seem to think its easy and some think its hard to introduce a virgin. It sounds to me like it just depends on the mood of the bees you are putting the virgin in with more than anything.
 

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Put her in a colony with Only young bees in which all foragers have flown back to the hive in the old location. Leave them queenless for 3 days and remove any cells. Direct release virgin. Works every time for me. Immediate acceptance and they groom and love on her.

Tongues out, slightly excited -good
Extremely excited, buzzing, biting at her wings or legs-bad.

If she is a couple days old she will be more confident. Newly hatched is more submissive.
 

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I have tried the usual cage release, but it seems to work poorly. But I've had almost 100% success when the virgin is about two days old and I direct release her into the new colony. They seem to be accepted the same as if they emerged there, and they even take care of queen cells and any other queens, all by themselves.
 

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I've had good luck introducing in a cage. It's best to feed them first (honey, sugar syrup) and include candy in the cage. After three days I pull the cork/plug and return the cage to the nuc and close it up quickly. They tend to be very flighty.

I've had some remarkable success introducing mated queens using the 'Bee Friendly' spray so I'll try that this summer with virgins.
http://thequeenbeeproject.ca/product/bee-friends-hive-combining-spray/
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok The virgins came in this morning. I made up 10 nucs last sunday. used frames with emerging brood and some older open brood. put a frame with some stores of nector and pollen in there. and then an empty frame in the five frame nucs. I also used a 2x4 queen castle. put a frame of honey and a frame of emerging brood. shook some extra nurse bees in on both the nucs and the queen castle compartements. left them 5 days. I took the virgin in the cage with the attendants and dobbed some honey on the wire and let it drip down in with them. i let the virgin walk around and get some honey on her iinside the introduction cage. Then i pulled the plug and let her walk right out onto the side of the comb laying flay ways and as she came out the hole i had some honey on a Q tip and dobbed their wings on the way out so they couldnt fly. 9 out of the 10 just walked right into the bees and found a cell and started eating right away. the bees would start cleaning the honey off them and there was no aggression at all. The first virgin i released actually attacking the workers, but after a couple she quit. Had one the 9th one i did. I should have known it was going to happen because the bees flocked the cage instantly. I let her out and they jumped on her two bees got on her before i got her away from them but they killed her quick. There was no balling her they just killed her instantly. The reason why i think they done that is because they had some younger open brood in that nuc. That was the only difference between that one nuc and the other 9. I would introduce virgins again it wasnt too hard. I took a mated queen in an introduction cage and put her in the mean nuc and they balled the cage before i even laid it on the frames. I closed that nuc up I looked in there to make sure I didnt get a queen in there didnt see any and there were no new eggs. now if they mate successfully I would say it wasnt too bad.
 

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I make a mating nuc, 2-3 dl of bees from brood frames, slightly moistured, throw the young queen in them.

What is important in this method:
- no brood (do not take frames from brood area, eggs are somtimes impossible to see!)
- young bees
- very small hive
- moistured bees get confused and when they dry, they smell all alike

Virgin queen must be under one day old, if you want to be sure.
Several days old young virgin queens are very tricky to put into any hive. With my experience, I can only wish you luck...you need it.
 

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I typically use queen cells in a hive that's been queen less for 36 hours. Occasionally we get behind and cells begin hatching. I often direct release these virgins into the queenless hive with an almost identical success rate as the cells. I don't believe more mature virgins are that readily accepted, though I think that the biggest factor is the personality of the hive that she is being introduced into. They need to be queenless but not for more than a couple of days and the younger the bees the better.
 

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I don't believe more mature virgins are that readily accepted, though I think that the biggest factor is the personality of the hive that she is being introduced into. They need to be queenless but not for more than a couple of days and the younger the bees the better.
I agree, though I never recommend any more than one day queenless period, because they draw queencells in that time.

Concerning virgins the major factor is the behaviour of the queen. Young virgin is calm (and quite big actually!) in her movements, while older virgin gets thinner and quicker as the mating flight day comes closer.


P.S I don´t remember where, but from somewhere I have read about a technic that virgin queens are put back to queencells, which are artifically covered with thin layer of wax on the tip, to introduce them in a safe way.
 

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One of the keys to acceptance is an active nectar flow or feeding during introduction whether it be with a cell, mated or virgin queen. Today I had made up a few nucs and had a queen hatch so I opened a nuc and tossed her in just to see what would happen. She was still active two hours later. Had the same thing happen two days ago when I was making up nucs and had a cell hatch. I tossed her in a box intending to go back and cage her. I forgot about her and filled the boxes with bees. The next day when I was placing cells in the nucs there she was. Other times I've done the same thing and it didn't work. I'm not sure what he difference is.
 
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