Queen introduction

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by PerryBee, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Just thought I would throw this out there for refreshment sake;
    I am sure that we have all had the pleasure (some about to do so :thumbsup:) of intruducing a queen to her new home. You have your queen cage with a candy plug at one end with cork covering both ends. The idea is to remove the cork covering the candy to allow worker bees to eat through the candy thereby releasing the queen. This is done so that there is a time delay in releasing her so that her pheremones have time top permeate the hive and improve her chances of acceptance.
    Along the way a method of helping speed up this release time (unsure of why?) has been to poke a hole through the candy with a nail to hasten her release (again, why?).
    I in fact was taught this and have used it myself until an unfortunate experience has caused me to abandon this practice.
    There are different types of queen cages so experiences may very, but I'm sure my experience is not unique.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Note the difference between these two cages. While "pushing a nail thru the candy" of the smaller one, the entire black tube or pipe the candy was in, slid into the cage crippling the queen. I quickly pulled the screen and did a quick release and the last I saw was her dragging herself down between some frames! :sad:
    Many things can happen, the nail can suddenly slide thru the candy and you might end up with queen-ka-bob or any other unfortunate experience. Better to allow the bees to take their time releasing her and forget the unneccessary and potentially problematic step.

    Others may disagree, this is merely my humble opinion. :wink: :mrgreen:
     
  2. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I agree Perry, i watch how the bees react to the queen cage when i place it in the hive. If they are biting and stinging the queen cage, i will wait another day or two before i take the cork out of the candy end of the cage.When i give $20.00 or more for a bug,:roll: i want to take care of it. Another thing i do is place the cage with the candy end up, so when they eat through the candy the queen can walk out and not have one of the dead attendance blocking her escape. Jack
     

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    perry,
    i keep russkies, they require the slow release method, so i have always practiced this method. place the cage in candy side up(leaving the candy plug in) and let the bees release her. i also observe the workers reaction when placing the cage in. sometimes, i will leave the cork in for a day, go back, and remove it. i don't remove the candy and i don't pierce it. has always been successful.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    the first thing you should notice is the sheer volume of candy in the two cages. the three hole cage just requires more time for the bees to chew thru the block of candy but yes this is typically where lots of mistakes in introducing a queen begins. with the three hole introduction cage I primarily insert a nail thru the candy plug to make certain the candy is not hard.

    a Jack snip..
    Another thing i do is place the cage with the candy end up

    tecumseh:
    you can get into a lot of debate as to the proper-improper placement of a queen's introduction cage. no matter which side of the debate you might take this can lead to problems if thing do not work out as planned. queen cage candy can become quite soft (or as mentioned above quite hard) and if the hive into which it is introduced is warm and generating some internal moisture the candy can become liquified and run... thereby drowning the queen in hot syrup. the same thing can happen if faced downward.. only in this case the candy runs out and the queen is introduced too quickly and she is fairly quickly murdered. my approach is to place queen cages at the edges of the 'brood' nest where these conditions are somewhat modified.

    here in the US where the 3 hole cage is covered with wire mesh typically the candy end plug has a small bit of wax paper that keeps the candy from oozing out the wire if it should get soft. on more occasions than I like to admit the workers chew the paper thru the wire and prior to the queen being released this small round bit of paper fall downward and keeps the queen from leaving the introduction cage.

    I myself recently have come to like the jester ez nuc boxes since they allow enough room above the top bars that you can simply lay the queen's introduction cage on the top bars (with 3 hole cages you need to make certain that the worker's in the nuc have access to feed the queen thru the screen).

    good topic Perry.... in that there are any number of things that can go wrong and for most new beekeeper this process is one they will face early and perhaps often and as Jack states a $20 bug you don't want to just toss about without recouping something for the money spent.
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    For the past ten years now, i have been making queen introduction frames. Hope i can explain this right? I cut a 4 in. gap out of the top bar (in the middle), i then make a top bar that will fit under the top bar and between the inside of the end bars.I nail the two top bars together, this makes a gap where you can lay the queen cage flat with the screen up on the top bar and room on the end of the queen cage for the workers to eat the candy out of the end to release the queen.You can place this frame under the hole in the inner cover so when you lift the lid off you can see if the queen has been released or not without disturbing the hive to much.:thumbsup: I use migratory lids, so i get a full view.You do have to cut the bottom off a sheet of foundation to make it fit in this frame, but once it is drawn out you can use it over and over. I need to learn how to send pictures.:roll: Jack
     
  6. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    The only time I have had to introduce queens is when I have made a split or bought a nuc from another. The way I have always done it is to NOT poke the candy with a nail because the beekeeper friend I have said that will take the bees enough time to get to know their new queen, and So Far (Knock on wood) it has always worked out for me. BUT I have a hive that I need to requeen because when I reversed the hive bodies a couple of weeks ago, this particular hive did not have much in the way of brood compared to my other hives. I have Never actually requeened a hive - so what is everyone's best method? Wait 24 hrs? 2 days? I have heard to get the queen and kill her - take her away from the hive and kill her - etc. I really don't know what To Do - BUT I do know that if I requeen that hive (I need to find a queen first! - many aren't ready yet around here) I will make sure I have a queen on the way. I am going to check that hive tomorrow and see what kind of brood pattern I have and just how much. Maybe she has got down to business since I was in there last????
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    requeening hives I normally do this with cells which I guess is an entirely different question and set of problems????

    as far as arkiebees question there are a lot of variable to consider. has the queen simply failed or has she failed completely. for the most part if a hive has been broodless long enough I would add one frame of unsealed brood, check everywhere for cells and any signs of laying workers prior to requeening (laying worker stuff gets banged out of the box and stacked... no one needs to waste a perfectly good queen on one of those). these three thing (some unsealed brood to calm the brood bees, existing cells and laying workers) likely has more to do with queen introduction failure than anything else.

    first spotting and killing the old queen is mandatory and I don't think the bees have any concern as to where this killin' is done or how. it doesn't take long (perhaps as few as a couple of hours) for the workers to recognize they are queenless so any 'wait' is pretty up to your own judgement... again I don't think it make one whit of difference to the girls. I do think checking back is something that needs to be done simple due to the number of things that can go wrong in regards to the introduction cage itself... ideally this is 2 to 3 days later. if upon checking if the queen has not been released I myself release her directly... typically by popping the screen. that is removing the staple from one end while holding down the screen with your thumb and resetting the cage into the hive.
     
  8. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    That's what I do tech - is to wait and check in a few days to see if the queen has been released. I really don't know what's wrong with the queen - but I couldn't get in there today because it has been cool and rainy - maybe tomorrow afternoon. But if the brood is really like it was (not much) I will put some in there from another hive -thanks for the advise - .

    If I just need to requeen and can do it from one of my other hives, I know that I have to put in a frame of brood/eggs that has "new eggs" that are still standing straight up?? right? It would probably be a good idea to requeen from the hive that is really strong (the one that had three supers full of brood) that queen deserves a crown of pure gold!
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    I know that I have to put in a frame of brood/eggs that has "new eggs" that are still standing straight up?? right?

    tecumseh:
    exactly..

    sounds like the boomer could spare more than one frame. for myself if I do have a boomer about that can spare the brood I like to add some of various ages especially if I think the hive has been queenless for some time. just gives you some young bees in the hive fairly quickly.
     
  10. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Do you think by adding a capped queen cell it would stop a laying worker or would they kill the newly hatched (if she even made it that far) queen?

    By adding several frames of brood (all of which would have the donor queens scent) deter a laying worker?

    I had a hive last year that was queenless and would not pull a queen cell until about the fourth frame of brood, but did not have a laying worker either. To say the least the number of bees was dwindling down pretty good in that hive.
     
  11. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    How about several frames of brood with queen cells?

    I guess if going that far might as well just shake them all out huh?

    Tec how do you deal with a laying worker?
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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  13. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I checked that hive this afternoon and I don't have to worry about requeening it because she had capped brood all over several frames and it was beautiful - a perfect pattern - don't know what happened on the day I saw it ??? but anyway it looks great now. I will probably have to worry about my hives swarming!
    I bought some of those swarm catching lures (or whatever it's called? it's in my freezer now) and exactly how do those things work? I have never used them, but I hope to get my swarms caught because I know they are going to - Just my luck every year!
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    glad to hear everything corrected itself arkiebee. I myself wished I had counted the times that someone has called me about buying a queen and I have advised them to wait just a while and then take another look. this is likely not so good for my bank account but does suggest (at least to me) that some problem with the girls correct themselves (with just a wee bit of patience on the beekeepers part).

    and thanks ya' Perry for highlighting my approach to laying workers. on some occasions salvaging what you can from a laying worker hive and starting off all over again with something new just makes more sense and saves you lots of worry, time and money.
     
  15. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Nice thread, Perry. Am enjoying the input.

    Can someone (experienced) post an account of the Watering Can method of Q introduction ?

    I have had successful (but limited) use of this system.
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    tells us what ya' know Barbarian about the Watering Can method or we shall water torture you until you spill the beans and tell us ever thing you know.

    this curious cat just got to know....

    ps.... never heard of this at all so please do divulge some detail.
     
  17. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Tec Since your above post I have been in fear and trembling of cars with blacked-out windows and men in grey suits.

    Here are the beans -----

    Use the watering can to give the bees in the queenless hive a good wetting. I was advised that you can now run the new queen into the hive and close up. The idea is that the workers are busy cleaning themselves and the hive up that they have time to accept the new queen's smell.

    As a beginner to this idea, I chickened out of just running the queen into the wet hive. I used a Nico (Nicoplast) plastic queen travelling/introduction cage with some scrunched up newspaper in candy section. It worked OK for me. I was sold these cages with the comments that they gave the queen somewhere to hide and didn't allow the workers to bite off her feet.

    http://www.nicomiel.com/elevage-des-cellules-royales.htm
     
  18. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Another "direct introduction" method is done by giving the new queen a quick washing before placing her in a hive that has been made queenless. You can hold her by the wings and carefully slosh her for a few seconds in tepid water or put her in a small matchbox (that doesn't smell of matches) with water and shake her gently for a few seconds before releasing her quietly into the hive.
    I've done it with success and my grandson used that method successfully last week when he had to quickly introduce a queen.
    I learned of this method from Snelgrove's book on Introduction of Queen Bees (p 130). Apparently the bath removes her queen scent and she enters the hive without causing an upset. Snelgrove speaks of this method in glowing terms. If you can get his description, you'll enjoy it. :rules:
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    passin' on a few trade secrets can pose problems huh Barbarian.

    one of my old mentors use to (on rare occasion when in a pinch for time) used a similar method only the watering can was a small hand sprayer with very thin sugar water and he placed a couple of drops of some flavor (can't really recall if it was wintergreen or something equivalent) and he would spray the bees down lightly and then the queen and then run her in the front door.

    grey suits huh? I know the feelin' well.... having been hung with the moniker Et (long ago) I am always on the look out for those men in black who might want to invalidate my visa and send me back to Pluto (it is a bit cold and dark there for me and my girls).
     
  20. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I have read that misting them down with a mix of sugar water with some vanilla flavoring in it to mask the queens smell works too, have not tried it though.