Can anyone tell me would go into a queen bank to keep about 15 queens? Lots of nurse bees and brood I am assuming, but you know what they say about assuming. Also about how long will a queen live while banked? Thanks
Are you banking virgin queens or mated queens?
I have not bank virgins before only the mated ones.
So far in 2 months she is still alive while the workers feeding her everyday.
There is another virgin running around in this hive also. Don't know how the
other workers will react to the caged queen after the virgin is laying.
I bank In queenright hives, required to do so are a queen excluder, shallow super, and banking frames.
As for how long a queen will survive in a banking frame is anyone's guess. I would suspect indefinitely as long as the attendants continue to feed her. Which in most cases would also be indefinitely as nurse bees will generally feed any queen that begs, it is an instinctive response..
My concerns for keeping queens banked for an extended period of time would be in the realm of her prolonged productivity.
From time to time in my beekeeping carrier I have noticed that some queen were hard to introduce to the hive, their interaction with the attendants upon release seemed abnormal, and in many cases these queen failed prematurely, and were superseded.
It was not until I started rearing queens that I was able to correlate this behavior with queen that had been banked for extended periods of time. Although speculative I have come to believe that the stifling of egg production, along with the artificial relationship between attendants, and in combination with the presence of pheromones from other queen has an impact on the banked queen. which results in abnormal behavior, and production.
For 15 mated queens, keeping them indefinitely (for a few days I would not set up a queen bank, I'd just put them in a cigar box or equivalent with some nurse bees, candy and a sponge with some water), I'd take a frame of brood, a frame of honey, and shake in another frame of bees and put them in something between a three and five frame box. Make a frame to put the queen cages in and put that in the middle between those frames somewhere between 2 hours and 12 hours later. In 12 days a virgin will emerge but that has never been a problem (although I can see that someday it might) and two weeks later she will be laying and still I have had no problems with the banked queens...
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