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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hoping a few of you busy guys can tell me what sort of percentages you expect for caged queen acceptance into reasonably strong hives around 3 weeks after install?

Are there any differences between installing in spring or autumn?

Do you have any particular method that you like most?

Any feed back would be great but if you are pushed for time just a percentage would be great.

Ta Much

kiwi
 

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when i introduce a mated queen in a nuc with a three frame split after the first week i should have no problem getting a 95% take. (last spring at this time i had a 98% take after 200 nucs) this spring it is looking like about 97% probably due to the super cold weather we are having.
After three weeks i guess i couldnt tell you for sure but i would say no less than 90%. i just introduce them the normal way with the candy tube, i dont put a hole in it like some i would rather have them work at it a little longer.
 

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Out of 200 this year I had three that didn't take and these were self queened as they built their own queen cells. (good bees) So what's that....right at 1.5%. Not bad. I can give you a larger sample off the 1400 we hived but won't know till later as it's still ongoing.
 

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This spring I had 97% take on splits(deep hive bodies) that had 3 frames full of brood and 7 frame avg of bees. That was checking them after 2 wks. Before they could have produced their own queen yet long enough to check the brood pattern of the new queen. They were queenless for 15 hrs before installing the queens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
All three of you are havng really good takes.
I dont know why we are having so much trouble with ours we are probably losing up to 30% the last couple of years. Seems they make a start then next time you go back in she's gone.
Queens are picked from mating nucs after we have sealed brood so about 4 weeks in a mating picked one day and installed the next.
It's driving me nuts and setting the hives back as well.
Anyone have any idea what might be going on?

I love Autumn gives me all the time in the world to sit here and ask a heap of questions while you guys are flat out!

kiwi
 

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I wouldn't call mine en masse, but I installed 50 early season queens into nucs and lost about 20%. About the same as in the past. If I get queens about a month later, the 'take' is substantially better. I do a manual release. After three or four days I release the queen onto a frame with plenty of bees. I watch for a minute or so and if they don't attack her, I put it all back together. The most common failure is a nearly immediate supercedure. I'll get a couple that just 'disappear'. One or two drone or non layers. Again, I know 50 hardly qualifies as en masse and these are first of the season queens but the numbers have been pretty much the same for the past two years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
50 gives me a reasonable number to compare with.
seems to be our early queens are the ones that have the worst success as well.
I dont know why that would be do you have any ideas at your end?
We have plenty of drones early so I'm thinking thats not the problem. It could be that the weather's not so settled at that time and maybe she dosn't mate with as many drones?
could be a number of reasons I quess but frustrates me when I hear figures of 95% being had by some.

kiwi
 

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I always figured it was either not enough drones, quality of early drones or not enough good mating weather. But it's all a guess. If I get those queens a month later..it makes a world of difference. On the other hand those nucs that are successfully started a month earlier will usually produce a significant surplus, while the later ones mostly don't. It's a balancing act. I continue to take my 20% losses.....
Although those 20% aren't entirely lost. I usually add a frame of eggs or a swarm cell and they recover...but just become later nucs.
 

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use a spritzer with a water sugar water mix and Honey B Healthy. I have great sucess with this. Spritz the bees, no smoke, spritz the queen. Keeps the bees calm while working without smoke, and masks the smell of the queen.
I still wait a few days before introducing her. Shes a costly insect you know!
 

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Doesn't seem to matter what I do. Honey-b-healthy, big nucs small nucs, early nucs, late nucs, or even different queens. I settle in around an 89% take after a couple weeks. Packages on the other hand is a different story - I lose at least 20% every time - I hate packages.
 

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Around 95 percent acceptance on packages sounds right, I can report back with precise numbers in a week. Been that way for years. Always direct release IF bees have been in package long enough.

Roland
 

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I installed 101 packages that I got from John and Sheri on April 3(or around there). Only 1 package didn't take the queen but they took the next 1 I gave them. I inspected them all 4 wks after installatioin and all queens are laying great with lots of brood and a great pattern. I even made nucs w/ 2 frames brood out of the really strong ones and they were still a single full of bees and 5 frames of brood or more. Last week from 5 of them I took the queens with 3 frames of brood and 2 frames syrup and pollen. 5 hrs later I gave them original hives another queen. Checked them today and they all have laying queens again.
 

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Kiwi

I'm really surprised your not getting close to 100% success if your going straight from mating nucs to hives. Those queens should be pumping out a ton of pheromones and attracting bees.

In spring, especially during willow and dandelion flows, I would expect at least 95% acceptance. I usually make a split and immediately install a queen cage with a hole made in the candy.

Do you find you have better acceptance at certain times of the year?
 

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Make sure there are plenty of young bees, open brood, incoming nectar helps alot and if you don't have a flow feed. Don't let the splits sit queenless to long. After they start to make emergency cells they will reject and kill the new queen more. I use to make my splits as I could over a weeks time so I could have them all ready for queens when they arrived. I started noticing that the longer the splits sat the more my % of take would go down. Now I make the splits above excluders so they feel they are queen right until I take them off. I take the splits off in the evening and give them new queens the next day. I only leave about 3/8" of soft candy with a hole pierced through the candy with a small knife blade. I don't use anything to cover up the queens scent and I don't spray the bees with anything other than some smoke to keep them calm. I always put the queen cage in open brood so she will be surrounded by nurse bees.

I hope this helps you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Seems we do pretty much exactly the same when introducing the queen, she's picked from a nuc she's been in the nuc 4 weeks and has sealed brood. Put in queen cage with between 8-10 attendants we take them out to the yards and install the queens as we make up the splits.
The only difference might be that we install as we go not leaving them queenless for any period?
If it's not the install process thats a problem then it must be the queens themselves?

kiwi
 

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Stop putting attendants in your cages. Place the attendants on the outside of the cages inside a screened queen holding box to keep them warm. Your split bees could be fighting with the attendants and the queens are getting stung trying to nurse off the outside bees but they get a stinger in the mouth instead of food.

Also let your splits be queenless for at least a couple hours. Some guys have good success immediately placing caged queens in the splits but the cages they use are the JZBZ plastic and those have a protected area that the queen can hide from the workers in.
 

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I don't like attendants in the cages but don't notice any difference in acceptance rate in cage with or without attendants.

I almost always but the cage in immediately, whether using JZBZ or wooden 3-hole cages.

One test I use to measure the "fitness" or quality of queens is to put the queens in a battery box with nurse bees. If the queens attract a lot of bees they will usually hold bees in splits well and have a high level of acceptance.
 
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