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Discussion Starter #1
Can any of you with a lot of queen introduction experience help a newbee muddle through some conflicting advice regarding the worker bees a queen is shipped with in her cage? Some of my favorite YouTubers (UOG Honey Bee Research Center and Fredrick Dunn) both leave the workers in the cage with the queen when they put her into the hive. This feels right to me.

Another one of my favorite YouTubers (Randy Oliver of Scientific Beekeeping) says that the worker bees in the queen cage can create a 'mini colony' scent, and may fight with the workers through the cage screen when it's placed in the hive. So he has a video on Olivarez Honey Bees' website which states that I should first remove the workers from the cage before placing it in the hive. This sounds plausible and I do value Randy Oliver's advice on many topics.

My problem is, I have no practical application experience with either of these queen introduction methods. I have a queen arriving next week, and I want to introduce her in the least stressful way possible. Any thoughts on this?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I have only introduced around 10 new queens in cages but have always left the attendants in with the queen. The introduction instructions that came with those queens have never mentioned removing the other bees. There should only be 5 attendants in there, hardly a mini colony. I would follow Paul Kelley's advice from UoG.
 

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Welcome to the conflicting world of beekeeping! Like you have learned, there are respected beekeepers on both sides of this issue. Not unusual at all. I was confronted with the exact same issue in the past and my scales tilted to removing the attendants. They accepted the queen. The next time I forgot to remove them and they accepted the queen. So, all you can do is listen to the advice of people who know what they are talking about and then pick a side, decide for yourself. In the stickies (General Forum I think) you will find a vid of Michael Palmer removing attendants if that's the way you choose to go. J
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, both of you. What concerns me about removing the workers from the cage, is if the hive workers don't attend to the queen immediately, can she dehydrate or starve until they decide to accept her? I heard it can take up to 5 days for a colony to accept a new queen. How in the world would the workers in the cage get water to her if the workers in the hive take so long to start caring for her?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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And therein lies the flip side argument of removing them. I'll pose this question. How many queens have you held in your hands? What about worker bees? If you are not comfortable and experienced with holding them, getting the workers out of the cage while leaving the queen in might prove challanging. It is very easy to squish a bee and if it happens to be the queen you are trying to keep from coming out of the cage, well...
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hard to argue with Harry's success rate. I imagine he would consider removing the attendants to be some of that "****amamie monkey motion" he so often refers to. Go with you gut feeling on this and K.I.S.S. (in this case I'll change the last S to sweetheart so as to be less offensive).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hard to argue with Harry's success rate. I imagine he would consider removing the attendants to be some of that "****amamie monkey motion" he so often refers to. Go with you gut feeling on this and K.I.S.S. (in this case I'll change the last S to sweetheart so as to be less offensive).
Hahaha, K.I.S.S. is a hard guideline for me to follow, but I have been bitten by the "****amamie money motion" with disastrous results, so I am going with my gut on this issue.

Thank you, Squarepeg, for that link. I haven't been able to read much of it yet, but will get through it all tonight. So far, I am impressed with the OP's success rate and like the arguments he has presented...
 

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Bees are living, complex (relatively) and social creatures. There are too many variables, hence the variance in experience and advice. You can flip a coin between direct release, queen with attendants in the cage, queen without attendants. You can reduce the risk by following any of the methods but you need to know specific conditions appropriate for the method.

Regardless, you are pretty safe to release queen after 3 days in the cage, in truly queenless (non LW) colony.
 

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I have done both ways for years and dont see a difference in acceptance.
Likewise.

One possible problem with getting the attendants out - is how do you do this without risking injury to the Queen ? If you slide the cover back just far enough to allow the attendants out - will they readily leave the Queen ? Maybe.
The Queen could also make a dash for that opening and then get herself stuck - half in, half out. Then what do you do ?

If you're not totally happy about handling Queens, then I'd suggest leaving the attendants in.
LJ
 

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Removing the attendants is new to me sounds like over kill. I always set the cage across the top of the frame and see how they act to the queen if they jump on the cage and begin stinging at it you may have issues but I doubt it if they have been queenless they will usually be ready. The only bees Ive seen reject queens have been my hot hives but I’m not professing to be an expert on it.
 

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If you were introducing expensive queens from one breed into a very different breed hive, I think it might be worth the effort. I did dispose of workers and introduce queens in different cages on one occasion, because they were coming from an area with noted disease and small hive beetle which I have been free of.

If you take the cage into a darkened room with only one lighted window (or your computer screen) you can let the bees crawl out onto the glass; they wont fly, and you can easily pick the queen off with a glass and slip of paper. The workers get picked off with less decorum!

For routine queen introduction I dont think many people will bother. One piece of advice I think worthwhile is to check or refill the release candy. If it is just about empty the queens could be released in only an hour or so. I had release on one occasion within 2 hours but the queen was accepted but could have turned out differently.
 

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I introduced a queen last summer with the attendants , and they chewed out of the candy plug overnight. The next morning all 5 attends were dead on the landing board. Queen was excepted.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I introduced a queen last summer with the attendants , and they chewed out of the candy plug overnight. The next morning all 5 attends were dead on the landing board. Queen was excepted.
Yikes! Sounds harrowing! Did you poke a hole in the candy, or did they just get the heck through it overnight all on their own?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you were introducing expensive queens from one breed into a very different breed hive, I think it might be worth the effort. I did dispose of workers and introduce queens in different cages on one occasion, because they were coming from an area with noted disease and small hive beetle which I have been free of.

If you take the cage into a darkened room with only one lighted window (or your computer screen) you can let the bees crawl out onto the glass; they wont fly, and you can easily pick the queen off with a glass and slip of paper. The workers get picked off with less decorum!

For routine queen introduction I dont think many people will bother. One piece of advice I think worthwhile is to check or refill the release candy. If it is just about empty the queens could be released in only an hour or so. I had release on one occasion within 2 hours but the queen was accepted but could have turned out differently.
Thank you! One queen I'm introducing will be a Saskatraz to a newly queenless Saskatraz colony, which I ordered from the same apiary. The 2nd queen will be from an entirely different region, a Bee Weaver, going into a split of Saskatraz nurse bees, I think that will be a very foreign scent to that split. If the candy is low, do you think wedging in a marshmallow piece would do, or should I cook up some queen candy? I saw a recipe online once...
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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BB, I did not mean to suggest that one could not learn an awful lot from Youtube videos, just that there is a bunch of bad information out there from folks that think they know enough to share. I subscribe to a few of what I have determined to be among the "have a clue" crowd. Fred is one of them. David at Barnyard Bees, Jason at JC's Bees, and Joe May, aka the skinny beeman, are always good good for sound advice. But nothing beats a knowledgeable mentor that can help you with hands on experience.

PS. You are right to avoid taking advice from someone that can't manage to keep their hives, or at least most of them, alive through winter. That was my initial mistake and I paid dearly for it.

I realize after posting that I am referencing info that was part of another thead by the same OP.
 

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This year I introduced one queen the Randy Oliver way, and another queen I just put into a queenless colony riding on a brood frame. Both were accepted. However, one queen in another colony (from a pcakage) was rejected, after following the usual package instructions.

As a very famous bear once said, "You ever can tell with bees."
 
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