Installing a virgin queen

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Tyro, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    How does one go about installing a virgin queen in a queenless hive? Is the process the same as installing a mated queen or is it different?

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  2. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    good question. I dont know of a lot of people who install virgin queens. There is a short window of time when they make there mating flight. If introducing her caged I would say they would have to accept her rather quickly or you will miss the window. Are you buying virgin queens or raising queens for the queenless hives. I have heard of people using things to interfer with the smell of the hive when introducing queens but cant rremember what it was they used right at the moment
     

  3. rast

    rast New Member

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    Never done this either. Pepermint or Wintergreen oil in sugar water would be the disruptive spray. Don't think a virgin has the phermones to entice them to remove her from a cage either, only if hungry enough to eat the candy fast.
     
  4. alysonshaw

    alysonshaw New Member

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    How can one really determine who is the queen in the hive? My friend pinpoint the queen in my new hive but if it wasn't because of him, I wouldn't know.
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    The best way I can think of (short of having someone stand over your shoulder while you look) is to strudy a lot of pictures. Particularly valuable are those pictures labeled and pointing out the differences between the queens (mated and virgin), the workers and the drones. After a bit of studying you'll ask yourself, "How come I didn't see it myself?"

    As to the original question pf this thread, a terrrific reference on this subject is Snelgrove's The introduction of Queen Bees.
    His main premise is to introduce into the hive what they would naturally expect under their present circumstances.
    For a queenless hive with brood, it's best to give a queen cell. Let the family adjust to the idea of a new queen emerging naturally. BUT, if they have been queenless for a while (but haven't developed laying workers) and don't have any brood of their own, you're best off giving the QC a protective shield.
    Snelgrove also has a method of "bathing" the queen to be introduced in warm (not hot) water [for example, shaking her up in water in a non-smelling match box] and then dumping her into the hive. Not guaranteed to work always, but I have had some successes with virgins using this speedy method in a pinch.
     
  6. adamf

    adamf New Member

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    We produce and sell virgins for folks to requeen or establish hives with our
    stock. Virgins are a viable alternative to mated breeder queens from us,
    as mite tolerance is still expressed in the virgin's workers and the price
    is more reasonable.

    Beekeeping biology plays into virgin acceptance: introduce a virgin to a
    small amount of young bees. The perfect virgin introduction population is a
    few frames of emerging brood and adhering bees. Young bees have not had
    much exposure to any queen and are great for this application. Also, let
    the bees remove ALL the candy from the queen cage. We use JZBZ cages and
    hang them. See attached file.

    Adam
     

    Attached Files:

  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    virgins are not as easy to recognize since their abdomen are not swollen yet. they also can be difficult to catch since they seem (appear to me to be) nervous and are extremely fast and have no problem in flying.

    I have introduced a few virgins in jzbz cages much like the picture the AdamF has added above. these cages get the job done quickly and this (limited time frame for introduction) may be essential in having any success in doing this.