Comparing Alternative Methods for Holding Virgin Honey Bee Queens for One Week in Mai

Discussion in 'Bee News' started by Americasbeekeeper, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Comparing Alternative Methods for Holding Virgin Honey Bee Queens for One Week in Mailing Cages before Mating
    To determine survival of newly-emerged virgin honey bee queens every day for seven days in an experiment that simultaneously investigated three factors: queen cage type (wooden three-hole or plastic), attendant workers (present or absent) and food type (sugar candy, honey, or both). All 12 combinations gave high survival (90 or 100%) for three days but only one method (wooden cage, with attendants, honey) gave 100% survival to day seven. Attendant bees significantly increased survival (18% vs. 53%, p<0.001).
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0050150
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Interesting. Not a large study or sampling, but even at that it seems to indicate some sort of difference. I wonder if the size or space inside the queen cages made any difference? It seems to me freedom of movement or restriction thereof could also play a role perhaps? I don't think all things are equal in that department among the different cages.
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm Active Member

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    What's with the virgin queen experiment? isn't there a breeding window for breeding virgin queens? Introducing a virgin queen into a hive could be a little tricky it seems to me. I must be missing the point? Like perry said, a virgin queen would have more room than a bred queen. Jack
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think Jack this is something that Larry Conners is suggesting as a method for folks wanting to rear smaller number of queens that the commercial folks. The cages allow you some flexibility in creating a home for the virgins and allows you to cull any obvious defects without wasting the resources of bees and brood. As I think the study suggest (reinforced by the thought of at least one queen breeder) the window of opportunity for introducing a virgin queen is fairly limited (must be done fairly quickly after the queen has emerged). I have played with this process just a bit over the past season and just employing this technique does provides some degree of understanding as to how varied the biological clock is for the bees. The first thing I noticed was how many cells did not hatch at all and the second was the breadth of time required for all the viable queen cells to hatch.
     
  5. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    There is little different in the nutritional and biological needs of virgin or mated queens. As soon as she is releassed the lady needs more protein, but this is a caged condition.
    Just something to think about when you are shipped queens without attendants and they do not last a year, or they are shipped in plastic cages and they are superceded a few months later. It may not be the breeder queen but the transit methods, especially if it was over three days from being caged.
     
  6. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm Active Member

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    Thanks tec., that makes sense to me now. It would make for better queens, but the timing would be the key here. IMHO Jack
     
  7. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    I banked quite a few virgins in shipping cages [wood] over an excluder on a queen right hive last summer and used them as I got the nucs ready. Some were there for a week or so. Had no problems getting them mated [normal take which runs about 70%]. If you do this be sure to cover the candy with a piece of tape.
     
  8. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm Active Member

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    What is the acceptance rate when putting virgin queens into mating nucs? I'm guessing the nucs are made up of brood and nurse bees? As you can tell, i've never done this, most of my queen raising is from swarm cells and walk away nucs. Jack
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    acceptance rate can hinge on several factors including predators, wind velocity, temperature,etc. I think grabbing a number out of the air and somewhat reflective of conversation with other queen breeders Camero7 number sounds about right to me.

    I think everyone (that is anyone buying or selling queens) should reread and reflect on Americasbeekeeper comments #5. Time and time again in the queen rearing business small differences can make for large differences in performance.