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Discussion Starter #1
I'm expecting 5 NWC queens tomorrow. (2 for queenless, 2 replacement, 1 split) We are in the middle of some cold/wet weather. Conditions might not be good for distributing the queens for several days.

Can I place all five queen cages in a 5 frame queenless nuc full of bees, until the weather breaks?

If not, what is best way to "hold" queens for up to a week?

Thanx,
Dale
 

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>>Can I place all five queen cages in a 5 frame queenless nuc full of bees, until the weather breaks?

Yep.... that will work well.

>>what is best way to "hold" queens for up to a week?

The above method works great for a week or more if necessary. However:

I wouldn't leave the others queenless for a week if at all possible. Unless it is raining hard I would at least make sure that BOTH queenless units have a queen. One could have 1 cage and the other could have 4. I'm not sure whether you have already made up your split but don't leave them queenless for that long. At a minimum put at least 1 queen in each q-less unit.
 

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You could also make a small battery box of some kind that will hold several queen cells and a few workers and have some screen for ventilation and watering. Some "candy" works for feed or you can give them some on the screen wire. I often have one in my house with several queens in it. I keep it in a dark quiet closet. You can buy a plastic one or a cardboard one from Mann Lake but they are easy enough to build.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think I understand the concept - just lacking confidence, I guess.

1) all queens must be kept apart - not able to contact each other. yes/no

2) there needs to be attendant bees that can feed the queens. yes/no

3) Attendant bees should be allowed to fly or doesn't it matter?

4) At what temperature must the queen be kept?

5) does holding the queen where she cannot lay eggs hurt her in any way?

6) How long can I keep a queen in her "holding cell"?

Dale
 

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>1) all queens must be kept apart - not able to contact each other. yes/no

Yes.

>2) there needs to be attendant bees that can feed the queens. yes/no

Yes.

>3) Attendant bees should be allowed to fly or doesn't it matter?

It doesn't matter for a couple of weeks. After that you have to get new attendants or let them fly.

>4) At what temperature must the queen be kept?

Of course, in a nuc the bees will take care of that. In the house I like to put them in a dark closet or the dark basement and then, of course, they are about 70 F give or take five degrees or so.

>5) does holding the queen where she cannot lay eggs hurt her in any way?

It does not appear to.

>6) How long can I keep a queen in her "holding cell"?

If you keep fresh attendants (adding brood to the outside "nuc" queen bank or adding attendants to a battery box) probably about five years.
But, of course, I don't see the point. Less would be better.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What about a 2 frame OH? I have an empty one. I'm thinking of making a special mesh covered frame (no foundation) with 3 dividers, making 4 compartments. I then have the option of letting the workers fly or containing them, with a feeder, of course.

Question : If I install queens behind #7 or #8 mesh, do I need to enclose attendants with the queens or will the frame of brood & bees, I plan on adding to the second position, take care of feeding the queens? I guess in the spirit of a true observation hive, I'd get to see the attendants care for the queens.

Dale
 

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hayseed ask:
If I install queens behind #7 or #8 mesh, do I need to enclose attendants with the queens or will the frame of brood & bees, I plan on adding to the second position, take care of feeding the queens?

tecumseh replies:
well why reading this thread I was a bit confused by the answer(s) since I kept thinking about queens and attendants in introductory cages.

anyway to your question hayseed. years back when I was raising and catching a good number of queens we simply banked them in introductory cages without attendants. these queens were for our own use and were not going to be shipped or sold. we stored these over a well populated hive with a couple of frames of very green brood and a queen excluder to seperate the hive bodies. the nurse bees within the hive greedily fed the queens thru the cage wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
tecumseh,

Thanx, that's basically what I'm hoping to do. As I use the purchased queens and am able to raise a few myself, I'd like as place to keep a few.

I mis-spoke on the wire size. All I had available was #6 and window screening. I'm trying window screening. Hope they can communicate/feed through that size.

Dale
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The process seems to be working! Only a few bees come up to where the queens are, but they are "communicating" and seem to be touching, antenea and mouths. I'll assume they are feeding their royal ladies.

Now a related question that I can't seem to find in the books:

About ten days ago, I took capped queen swarm cells from an established colony and placed them in two 5 frame nucs, with frames of brood. Yesterday, upon inspection, I could only find the queen in one of the nucs. There are no eggs in either. The weather has been really lousy (rainy, cool and windy)for over a week and, reportedly, will not change for several days.

Should I consider combining those two nucs and just wait for the one queen to mate and start laying? or I could place one of my purchased queen in the seemingly queenless nuc? If I combine, do I need to use the newspaper method or will the two mini-colonies get along okay by just putting everyone together on a 10 frame box? Any way to be sure there's not a queen hiding somewhere in the queenless nuc, or shouldn't I care - as long as one of them survives, mates and produces.

Dale
 

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http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm

From the time you put the capped cell in until they emerged is a maximum of eight days and a minimum of one. From then until they are laying is typically two more weeks. I would not expect to see eggs after transfering capped cells of unkown age until 22 days after the transfer. Possibly a week MORE (29 days) if the weather is bad.
 

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to add a bit of detail to michael bush time line, watch the condition of the wax cells at the very center of the unit. if a queen is 'fixin' to be onboard the workers will start to clean and polish (the cells will have a dull but reflective surface) a circular groups of cells (the size of this circle will largely depend on the number of worker bees). in addition when polished the bees will 'seem' to enforce a no trespassing rule on these polished cells.
 
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