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Shipping cells

3496 Views 16 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  WBVC
I know this is typically not done, but I don't like shipping virgins either. Would this idea work? Take a California mini cage and drill a matching hole in the other side. One hole will be used to place a day 14 or 15 cell and the other will be used for a standard candy tube. Add 2 or 3 attendants and ship it. Seems to me that it would work, but just wanted to hear from others that may have tried it.
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See if you can find someone that have bought cells from Miksa in Groveland Florida. It's my understanding that he ships thousands of cells each year and has already worked out the bugs in his system. I'm sure someone out there knows how he does it. If you can't find anyone that knows just call him up and order some to see how it is done. It maybe a cheap way to get some education.
My understanding (could be wrong) is that Miksa is dealing in large volumes which may provide options not available to the 3-4 cell shipments that breeders/hobbyists are looking for.
Have you thought of doing a test shipment to yourself? Sorry, I've not ever tried shipping cells, but this thought crossed my mind when reading your post.
Have you thought of doing a test shipment to yourself?
Thanks. Not to myself, but I had thought about a test to someone else. I was just checking in to see if there were fatal flaws with the concept I proposed.

David Miksa perfected the art of shipping cells, you may want to order a box as johng suggested. David has them timed very well for overnight shipment. The cells still need to be handled with reasonable care and kept at a comfortable temperature, not too warm, not too cold, which is why he ships in battery boxes with bees.

May I ask what your objection is to shipping virgin queens? It seems that would be the easier and more certain route since you are considering smaller quantities, so close to emergence.


Perhaps it a lack of skill on my part, but I find the overall (introduction to mated queen) success far lower than with cells. Cells are easy. Virgins are far more twitchy. Shipping 3 virgins to have two rejected seems like a big waste. I've read everything I can find on virgin introduction methods, and still find success far below that of cells. Not completely sure, but I suspect that the resulting queens introduced as cells may be better as well (just a hunch). So, anything that improves success is welcomed.

I see. Yes, cells generally have better acceptance, but can me more challenging to ship.

I use California Mini Cages for emerging and banking virgins. I built a jig to hold the cages on the drill press and open up the 3/8" candy tube hole to 9/16"-5/8" to accept a cell built on a JZ BZ plastic cup. Works great!

I've been hearing about people having good luck transporting and shipping 48 hour cells. A bit further away from a mated queen.


For the work we did with 48 hour cells, beekeeper transported cells do very well, shipping, UPS over night, resulted in about 25% success with mated laying queens.
Sam Comfort was visiting recently, and was reporting great success with planting 48 hour cells in mating nucs, and then coming back and harvesting one of them when ripe to plant in a nuc where the mating queen had been harvested in the meantime.

He also said that he had been told that John kefuss has been having great success shipping 48 hour cells with attendants.

Apparently, by 72 hours, the larvae is likely to wiggle out of the cell in the disturbances involved in transporting.

Joe, what % success did you see with cells and/or virgins (in contrast to the 25% of shipped 48 hour cells), and do you have something to attribute this to?

I know one can't ship workers/drones into Canada and that shipping of Queens even without attendants is very difficult but what about Queen cells...they are not yet a "bee"

Shipped ripe cells with attendants normally run around 75%. My very limited experience with virgins is less than 20% acceptance.

I should note that we were shipping 48 hour cells without attendants. The lack of attendants played some role in failure, but cells were kept out of a colony for the same period of time with much better success. I think most of the failure was due to handling in transit as many larvae were dislodged from their cells.

Last week I used an Ulster observation hive to transport some cells. Since we had a market to do, I put both a capped cell and a 48 hour cell in the top visible part of the hive.

At the beginning of the day, the 48 hour cell was only about half full of the evening it was full. What was interesting was to see how apparent few feedings there were to fill the cell with jelly. We so often see huge numbers representing the number of times larvae get fed, but it seemed like only a handful of feedings, not hundreds or thousands requied to full the cell cup with jelly.
48 hour cell
I read once, but does 48 hour cell equate to approximately day 6 since the egg was laid?
I think probably closer to 5 days....3 days as an egg, and I figure most of my grafts are less than 24 hours since 'hatching'. These two cells were next to one another on the the first you can see the larvae emerging from under the dissolving shell (which starts at the bottom of the egg), and the second can't be much older than that.

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Super photos:)
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