Proper Queen Introduction Technique

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Larus, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Larus

    Larus New Member

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    Greetings. I am a wannabe beekeeper. I am building my first two hives right now, and I've reserved two 3# packages of bees to install in April. I have a question about the proper technique for queen introduction when installing a package. I've been doing my reading and watching instructional videos on line, and it seems to me that people recommend several variations on how to introduce a queen, which would logically result in a different length of time for the queen to get released:

    1. When you place the queen cage in the hive, immediately remove the wooden cover over the candy end and pierce through the candy with a sharp object, to make it easier for the bees to chew through the candy.

    2. Same method without the sharp object - don't make a hole in the candy. Come back a week later, and if the queen didn't get released, pierce the candy to help the bees out.

    3. (This one is recommended by Kim Flottum, who, I've noticed, has a generally low opinion of queens on the market in the US): when you install the queen cage, don't remove the wood cover over the candy plug. Leave the hive alone for a week, then come back and see how the worker bees are behaving around the queen cage. Are they mobbing it and trying to bite the wires, or are they climbing up and over it and treating it as something they've grown used to? If they seem comfortable with the queen cage, then remove the wood cover of the candy end, and let the bees chew through the candy.
    (I suppose a variation on this method would be to just pull out the candy plug if the bees are comfortable with the queen).

    Obviously, I don't want the queen released too soon and get killed. However, I also feel like it wouldn't be good to linger too much with the queen introduction - the new colony needs to have an egg-laying queen ASAP. So, I would like to ask the people on this forum, who have probably done this a hundred times, what method works best for you?

    A somewhat related question: obviously the queen and the attendants in the cage have the candy plug for food, so they will not run out of food. But if they don't get out of their cage, will they run out of water after a while? I know bees get their water from nectar or the syrup you feed them, but the queen and attendants in the cage have nothing but the piece of candy, and the worker bees outside the cage aren't inclined to feed them syrup, I imagine.

    Thank you in advance for your help.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    ""and the worker bees outside the cage aren't inclined to feed them syrup, I imagine.""

    I think you may be wrong there. The hive bees will feed the queen. The attendants in the cage are expendable.

    I remove the plug in the candy end, install cage, and close for 1 week. I do not disturb them during that week. If I had ever had a queen still in the cage then, I would do a direct release. So far, in 30 plus years, they have released her.

    I think many queens are lost when the beek goes into them 2 to 4 days after installation.
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hi:
    One word of caution when employing the nail through the candy trick. (I will include a couple of photos showing a couple of different types of queen cages.) Two years ago I got 4 queens in the smaller type cage that has a small plastic tube filled with candy inserted in the hole at one end of the cage. To my complete horror, as I was gently pushing the nail into the candy, the whole piece of pipe slid in and bent my queen in half. :shock:
    I quickly removed the tube and did a quick release, hoping the bees would care for her. The last I saw was her slowly crawl between frames.
    All that I could do was :beg:
    I guess what ever the manufacturer of the cage used for glue didn't hold very well.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Hopefully my loss will help someone else avoid the same mistake.
    Perry
     
  4. fatbeeman

    fatbeeman New Member

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    hello
    don't get me wrong but I think the best way is to install the cage {wood type} called a denton cage 3 hole. on some breeds of queens the bees take little longer to release her and accept her.so just remove the cork on the candy end and install it with the screen side down wedge it between the frames. horizontally
    never poke a hole into candy doing so will or might hurt the queen also if released too soon some bees will reject her or ball her.
    there is no hurry to release let nature do its thing.
    Don
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    dont want to hijack the thread just wanted to say a great big hi to don havent seen you around for awhile hope this finds you doing well.
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I always pull the cork on the candy end, never poke a hole in the candy and install between frames with the escape hole pointing up. That way if the attendents die before the queen is released they will fall to the bottom of the cage and not block the hole for the queen to get out of. I like to wait a week also before disturbing the hive.
     
  7. fatbeeman

    fatbeeman New Member

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    thanks river
    been busy as a bee {lol}
    just trying to help out here,trying not to be too bossie.
    Don
     
  8. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Cant be to bossie when giving good advice. Newbeeks and old Keeps alike If you have not had the pleasures of reading fatbeeman (AKA Don) answers to post your in for a treat when he answers I have never seen his hand write a check on advise his brain couldnt cash. Very knowlegable queen breeder and keep. Its a pleasure and honor to have him posting on this forum. Hope to see you around often. If you get time please post how the corigated sign board and crisco and was it borax on the bottom board you was using to help with SHB. If you could start a thread on that it would be quit interesting.
     
  9. fatbeeman

    fatbeeman New Member

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    hey RR
    thanks for a big build up.{lol} I am only trying to pass this art form on to as many as I can before I leave this world.
    on beetle traps you use boric acid instead or borax then the Crisco on ends to seal untill place in a hive.
    Don
    :beg: :wave: