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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So is putting honey on the virgin and direct releasing her into a queenless nuc/ hive the most accepted practice?
 

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The 'most accepted practice' is not up to us to decide. It is the bees which decide when to
accept their new queen. Frankly, I have never done this before. But looks like very risky with
the honey and not sure if she will be accepted or died from the sticky mess.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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sixacrebees- Do you like to gamble? Many Queens are killed outright, or even worse injured causing supercedure and
probably your crop of honey. Go for it if you like taking chances.
 

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I introduced a bunch of virgins to mating nucs recently. at best I get 50% of them mated. at worst I get none. This was over a run of 109 virgins. So far I think I have gotten about 25 mated queens. I do not put honey on them but I do make sure the bees have been queenless for at least a few days.
 

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Apidea mating nucs are made with 2,5 dl slightly moistured bees. I always give them a ripe cell, but if you want to use hatched queens, just throw it in with the bees. When they are slightly wet and the queens less than one day old, it is a 100% method.

Daniel: if you get only 50% laying queens, is the problem that there are not enough drones or what? I usually get about 90% laying queens. Sometimes even more.
 

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Put the virgin in a nuc with just a frame of nurse bees, emerging brood and some pollen/honey. Works for me almost every time. Just be careful of SHB taking over......
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for the tips, I've purchased some vigins from a queen breeder and wanted to see what others had tried.
 

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I recently posted a video of introducing a mated queen by dredging her in honey. I don't do that with virgins.

Generally I put them in their cage on the topbars of recently (hour or so) made up queenless nuc or hive. The bees generally don't pay them much attention in my experience, even if the virgins had been in a nuc and banked (rather than emerged/kept in an incubator where they don't pick up hive smells)...I usually (not always) give the hive a good smoking (a real good smoking...take the top off, blow in the bottom until you see smoke coming out the top), and release the virgin on the topbars.

If you are producing the virgins yourself, have another batch in process (it doesn't cost you much).

Some of the more recent (some of it not yet published) research on how the gut microbes populate the gut of newly emerged workers (no one has done work with queens yet) has made me rethink emerging queens in the incubator. It seems that the gut is first populated by a myriad of opportunistic microbes, which ripen the environment for the 8 or so specific strains that make up 95% of the gut microbe population. By day 3 or so after emerging, the workers have been inoculated by all of the core strains, although the populations haven't yet stabilized. The inoculation happens through several routes, not all of which are accomplished by nurse bees feeding through a cage.

This has made me think that it may be more important than I had considered to emerge the queen in a colony.

This year I'm experimenting with planting 48 hour cells (I'm told that by 72 hours the larvae is prone to wiggle off her food if disturbed too much...the 48 hour larvae is just stuck to the food and eating). Sam Comfort has been putting 2 48 hour cells in each mating nuc...he comes back and harvests one ripe cell for a nuc (so he can harvest the mated queen), and lets the other one emerge and mate.

deknow
 

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I don't find that virgins are always fed by nurse bees if they are in cages. If you put the cages between frames of open brood they will almost certainly get fed...anything less may get them ignored.

deknow
 

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This has made me think that it may be more important than I had considered to emerge the queen in a colony.
I reached that conclusion a while back. I think its particularly difficult on virgins emerged in a bee free incubator. I think if you're going to emerge virgins they should emerge in a queen bank not an incubator. Use the incubator to day 14 and then place caged cells in the bank so that the virgins are attended to by the bees. There is no substitute for proper care and feeding of these new queens.

At this point I really try to avoid introducing virgins unless its due to stock exchange or really bad weather/timing.
 

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I've just introduced 20 virgins into nucs from mini's to 3 frames, from nurse bees to cell builders. As long as they are within 12-24 hours it's no fuss to directly release them. They are just a young emerged bee at that point. In years past I've introduced in cages and had them starve. I like to see 1/2 of the batch emerge in the incubator before making up allll the mating nucs that may or may not be needed. The other 1/2 go into the mating nucs as cells. Good luck with them.
 

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I've just introduced 20 virgins into nucs from mini's to 3 frames, from nurse bees to cell builders. As long as they are within 12-24 hours it's no fuss to directly release them. They are just a young emerged bee at that point. In years past I've introduced in cages and had them starve. I like to see 1/2 of the batch emerge in the incubator before making up allll the mating nucs that may or may not be needed. The other 1/2 go into the mating nucs as cells. Good luck with them.
I am not sure what I think the losses are due to. I have reason to think it may be virgin introductions gone bad, possible weather, that 50% is the best we have seen so far from these compartments, or who knows what. I am thinking this may be one of those issues that is a while in answering. I wll see if introducing cells makes a difference in a few days.
 

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I've had a lot of success just dropping virgins into queenless hives this year so far. This has been in a time of heavy nectar flow and generally hives with a lot of young bees. This past week I had a few failures using the same procedure but the nucs are also gaining in older bee populations and the nectar flow is letting up. I also have a suspicion that failures are due to the breed of bees being too different from the queen being introduced. More defensive hives really do not seem to like virgin queens or even foreign queen cells for that matter. I have even seen defensive hives supercede cell introduced queens within a few weeks perhaps because they are so dissatisfied with the genetic difference.
 

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I put three virgins in mini mating nucs today, for some reason I had a few cells get chewed out from the side with the hatch still on,I just drop her in the middle of the frame and watch,they crawl on top of her slowly not aggressive. I hatch out extra cells that I don`t have room for in a frame that holds wooden blocks I hang the cell in. Then I hang it in a big hive to keep warm The day they hatch I check the nucs , if the cell failed, I drop a virgin in. I`m not sure why they chew out the side, they must have their reasons. I`m ordering cell protectors now. I seen a UTUBE vid a few years ago with a guy making paper tubes and puttin wax on them, he stuck a virgin in the other end and closed then put that in the hive, she would emerge, wish I could find that again, it was in another county ,,,,,,,,,,,Pete
 

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With your idea, I think the window wire screen can be use to make these small tubes to put the
qc in the other end. It is better to time the qc to hatch in a day or 2.
 
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