I built about 50 nucleus colonies last September and queened them with Saskatraz queens. I have not had them for a full year yet so I can only account to what I have observed thus far.one of our local suppliers is offering packages of saskatraz bees this spring. supposedly the are a hardy strain that overwinters well in northern climates. anybody have them and what are your thoughts?
The frames of brood I selected for each nuc I carefully checked for being completely capped brood to hopefully avoid that situation. In most of the nucs that I encounted this, I went through and check again for any queen cells they may have built did not find any. From my experience grafting queens, I realize they can make a queen cell surprisingly fast and one must keep a close eye out for it.Live Oak; If you made the nucs with brood of an age that can be used for queen cells, the reason the bees would not allow the queens out of the cages, and they balled the ones you released, was because they were making their own queens. The book says wait 24 hours to add the new queen to a nuc, but the books are wrong.
The bees start queen cells and will accept no other queens unless all cells are destroyed. Once they start making cells they usually continue until they no longer have eggs or larvae of the proper age to make a queen. When making nucs or requeening existing colonies always add any purchased queens when the nuc is made or the original queen removed. Even then they often make queen cells that must be removed.
I noticed that the candy plug material was not very white or off color. I did call Olivarez back about it to make them aware of it and we both were thinking that perhaps this may have been why the bees were not letting the queens out. I CAN attest to the fact that Olivarez customer service is EXCELLENT. They fixed whatever the issue was with the candy material.I saw in the queenrearing section a number of mentions of extra-hard candy for queen cages... wonder if that played a role in the queens not being released in a timely fashion. Wouldn't explain the queens being balled while in the cage after several days in the hive. Hope it's a once-in-a-lifetime deal!