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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve been watching all the YouTube videos I can find from reputable beekeepers and reading what I can. Most everything covers grafting and cell builders but lapses on mating nucs/queen castles. Do the Michael palmers of the world just use virgin queens or do they mate them? Can I introduce virgin queens to a queenless hive and expect the same acceptance rate as a mates queen?
 

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mature queen cells are much more readily accepted by a hive than a virgin queen. mated queens that have been laying for a couple of weeks are easily introduced to larger population hives. smaller queenless nucs will accept virgins pretty well, in my experience. I'm not sure if you question was in regards to going from a capped queen cell into a mating nuc, or getting the emerged queen into your final colony. Due to the amount of resources needed in queen rearing, most suppliers use smaller mating nucs to get the queens mated and then cage them for sale to beekeepers that will introduce the mated queen into their full size colony.

If you are just rearing queens for your own hives, you can put the mature queen cells directly into your big hives or recent splits and let the queens go on their mating flights from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I invisioned caging the cells and either incubating once capped or leaving in hive then putting them in my hives that need queens or splits and letting them mate from there. It seems queen cells are the preferred method or a mated queen.
 

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It's quite true to say that most people appear to prefer introducing q/cells or mated queens - but that's not the case for everyone (including myself). In the above .pdf link Larry Connor states that virgin introduction is not the preferred method used by commercial apiaries - but if you should want to see a contrary example - then check out the "Bienen - Ein Volk und seine Königin" videos, featuring Yasmin Zwinz.

Here are 3 links (there are plenty more on YouTube):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NCEdeO2VqY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn_d-yTYAs8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGhXuiseD94 (1m 30s)

Virgin queens are (rather unceremoniously) introduced into mating nuc boxes at around 1m 30s in the third of the above videos. A great pity the commentary is only in German, but they make for fascinating watching nevertheless.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The pdf was a good read. I’d rather skip the mating nuc and just introduce virgin queen to splits, trap outs, cutouts where I have no queen and just keep in a cage for a few days and hope she takes. I was hoping there was more supporting videos of beekeepers having success doing it that way. I can see raising queen cells but having a yard full of mating nucs is just for the time being too much for me. I usually have plenty of bees but equipment is the limiting factor and is expensive.
 

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I’d rather skip the mating nuc and just introduce virgin queen to splits, trap outs, cutouts where I have no queen and just keep in a cage for a few days and hope she takes.
That's pretty-much what I do. For the first 2 days of their lives virgin queens don't smell like virgin queens, so can be introduced into a queenless environment with more success than after that time. But, if I'm introducing a virgin into a larger colony, then I insert her in a mailing cage for a few hours to check for colony reaction. Then, providing the signs aren't negative, I dunk her in diluted honey ... and in she goes. :)

When the caged virgins were 0–1 days old when introduced, the proportion giving rise to an egg-laying queen (65%) was almost as high as with cells (70%)
Comparing alternative methods of introducing virgin queens (Apis mellifera) into mating nucleus hives*, Ratnieks et al, 2006
* = 5-frame mediums.

BTW - there are gizmos on the market (although I've never actually seen one first-hand) which are 'virgin introduction cells' into which you can place a virgin which, once she chews her way out, apparently fools the bees into thinking that she was 'one of their own' all along. http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/ii_reintro.html
LJ
 

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Btw, speaking of the virgin queens...

There is a podcast by Solomon P. with a fellow from Missouri (forgot the name) who sells virgin queens (I repeat - the virgins queens, because this sounds a bit illogical).

He makes a couple of important points why sells only virgins:
- it is easier/cheaper for him (and cheaper for the buyer too)
- the buyer gets an opportunity to mate the queen locally.

This local mating point is a really good one, I think.
 
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