Re-queening With Queen Cells/Virgins

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by dr.buzz, Jun 8, 2012.

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  1. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I'm curious, when the commercial guys requeen, do they really take the time to find and pinch the old queen, or do they just add a queen cell, or maybe just run a virgin in the front entrance and assume that either:
    A) Younger queen kill older queen
    B) Bees will kill older queen
    C) The two will ignore each other and both will lay simultaneously?

    I guess it doesn't matter whether it's a commercial operation or not, I just assumed the big boys do what works and is most convenient. I like splits/divides for different reasons, chief among them being a break in the brood/mite cycle, but if someone wanted to just add a Q cell or virgin to several colonies without removing the old queens, what would the downsides be?
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    ""but if someone wanted to just add a Q cell or virgin to several colonies without removing the old queens, what would the downsides be?""

    Instant death to the newcomer.........................

    A commercial beek can find a queen fairly quickly. I seldom look at more than 3 frames when I want to find her, and I'm not even good at it compared to them.
     

  3. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I'm starting to think that there doesn't exist even a single beekeeping method or technique that isn't advocated by about as many people as will say that it can't be done. It's almost starting to get funny.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You know, I tell people that putting a second queen in a hive is like bringing a second wife in the home. 999999% of the time, it's instant death to the newcomer. There will always be exceptions, but they will be few and far between.
     
  5. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I am sure that you are aware of techniques that allows for a 2 queen colony but is labor intensive, and quite heavy lifting as the supers of honey pile up, unless your commercial, and have the time to invest in the needed manipulations then most will opt for one queen two brood chambers. If all your looking to do is replace the existing queen with a new one at the same time nothing I have read or heard about would indicate that the current queen would allow it--exceptions--superceedure cells, one hatches, wipes out the remainder, takes mating flight, and mom and daugther lay peacible for a period of time--then of course the old queen will disappear.
    Barry
     
  6. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/inducedsupersedure.html


    The most sure-fire method of requeening a colony is to find the old queen and cull her. Then a nucleus or full-size colony with a mated and laying queen can easily be united with a 99.9% chance of success.


    But there will be times when a colony needs re-queening and it proves difficult to find the old queen. There could be several reasons, most likely inexperience of the beekeeper, aggressive nature of the bees and possibly the number of bees present within a brood box, or possibly multiple brood boxes.


    Recent posts on the Irish bee list discussion group has suggested a system known as 'Virgin Drop' could re-queen a colony without the need to find the old queen. In the simplest of terms a colony is heavily smoked at the entrance and a virgin queen which has had no contact with other bees, i.e. a queen 'pulled' from a cell or a queen raised in an incubator, is dropped into the top of the hive. This is a system practised in New Zealand and the Americas with, I understand, a good success rate.

    -----------------------------------------------



    http://www.beeworks.com/informationcentre/requeening.html

    Forced Superscedure.
    A new way of re-queening for the busy keeper with lots of hives, dependent on a supply of ripe queen cells, more successful when a flow is on.

    A ripe queen cell is placed in the center of the brood nest, held in place and protected by a cell protector. The cell is kept warm by the natural order of things and in due course the virgin emerges, mates and takes over the old queens position.

    A number of points, first it works on an older queen who is about to be replaced. Secondly the cell protector is vital, if the bees didn't put the cell there, then its in the way and going to be removed by the house bees.

    Thirdly, to really prove that this system works it is imperative that the old queen was marked, otherwise it takes a very practiced eye to note a young queen from an old one.

    Finally, the virgin is quite safe, once she has emerged it is very rare that the bees will remove her, provided she's healthy, of course.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://www.nev.nl/sete/sete-2004/029-033-HendriksmaEA-2004.pdf

    When the quality of honeybee queens decreases she has to be superseded. In the process of natural
    supersedure in honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera) the bees rear a few new queens, one of which
    replaces the resident queen and takes over the reproduction in the colony (Hooper & Morse 1985).
    In order to stimulate supersedure of old or failing queens beekeepers use several methods. They
    may introduce a ripe queen cell (induced supersedure) or a virgin queen in the colony (‘Virgin
    drop’). In this way the old queen remains in the colony while a new queen is introduced.
    This is in
    contrast to conventional requeening, in which the resident queen is removed and replaced with a
    mated queen (Johansson & Johansson 1971). Stimulating supersedure compared to conventional
    requeening has the benefit that it is cheap, since production of mated queens is not needed. In
    addition, the bees themselves decide if they accept the young queen or not, which warrants
    unnecessary replacement of well-functioning queens.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    ""A ripe queen cell is placed in the center of the brood nest, held in place and protected by a cell protector. The cell is kept warm by the natural order of things and in due course the virgin emerges, mates and takes over the old queens position.""

    The virgin mates within the cell protector??
     
  8. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    What? Of course not. I'm pretty sure when any beekeeper says that the virgin queen "mates," the basic mechanism of the process is understood by other beekeepers, i.e. the virgin queen emerges from the cell and after a few days goes on a mating flight and is impregnated by drones, after which she returns to the colony, etc., etc., and none of this takes place inside the queen cell protector.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    or maybe just run a virgin in the front entrance and assume that either:
    A) Younger queen kill older queen
    B) Bees will kill older queen
    C) The two will ignore each other and both will lay simultaneously?

    tecumseh:
    you seem to have forgotten D) workers kills intruder.

    this hypothetical would somewhat depend on the purpose folks (commercial bee keeper right?) were keeping bees. honey folks might allow a queen two years max and the pollinators likely no longer than one year. time this process at the proper time of the season and a lot of the 'speculative problems' are gone. at the wrong time of the season you just fall back on your handy queen excluder to sift the old girl out. I myself have never seen a commercial operation use virgin queens or use queen cells protectors. the time and manpower generally doesn't make these so attractive. as far as I can tell most use cells early in the season and move to mated queen as the season progresses. there is a time critical dimension that somewhat drives this choice.

    for some folks that promote treatmentless bees requeening without cause is never done. cause generally involves a poor laying pattern, a very defensive hive or evidence of any of several disease associated with a poor genetic background of the existing queen.
     
  10. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Interesting....I wonder who the commercial operations in New Zealand and "the Americas" are that use this method successfully? I guess I should ask Dave Cushman since he was the one talking about it.
     
  11. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Dave died last year or in 2010, not sure.
     
  12. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I'll look him up anyway, I'm starting to take everything I read on beekeeping forums with a grain of salt. :)
     
  13. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Really? Shame, didn't think we were so ignorant, and skill lacking, and uneducated. I am never opposed to atleast listen to new ideas, and glean what I can from it. I am by NO MEANS a commercial beekeeper, but I am a beekeeper hobbist for the moment. I didn't come here to insult anyone intelligence, or pick a fight, would appreciate the same.
    Barry
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  15. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Oh, no, Dave Cushman wasn't insulting anyone here, besides, it looks like he's dead. And I don't want to speak ill of the dead, but I'm just saying, maybe Cushman was wrong when he said commercial keepers in the Americas and New Zealand used the Virgin Drop successfully. If you get one experienced beekeeper saying he knows about something being done, and another experienced beekeeper saying it can't be done, obviously they can't both be right, so a grain of salt or two would be prudent, in my humble opinion.
     
  16. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Oh, are you thinking that he meant a queen cage? I'm still trying to figure out why you think a queen could mate inside a cell protector. A cell protector, of course, only protects a queen cell from being ripped open on the sides, but it's open at the very bottom so the Q can emerge and go on her mating flight(s). Or maybe you were joking and it eluded me, I don't know.
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I guess I misunderstood how a cell protector was made. I thought it caged the queen when she emerged, so many could be used in an incubator without them escaping and fighting. I did not know she could escape from it when she emerged. SORRY.
     
  18. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Well, see, I don't know much about them, but I hope someone that uses them will share. The only reason I could see using them would be:
    1) For the very purpose of requeening a queenright colony. Because a queenless colony would have no reason to tear down a queen cell.
    2) If you were unsure of the exact timing of a bunch of queen cells and wanted to prevent an early emerger from wiping out the rest. I mean, virgin queens that emerge don't kill each other, they only kill the ones pipping from the cells, right? So if they all emerge you can come along and separate them, I guess, before mating flights take place and they are mated queens and want to kill each other.

    Am I thinking of that right? If anyone else knows of why else you'd need a queen cell protector, I'd like to know.
     
  19. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Again, I don't have experience with them, but I thought the first virgin out in the incubator would insure that she was the only one that would make it out. In other words, she would go around and kill the other queens in their cells if not for the protectors.
     
  20. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    This the complete article minus the paraphrases, and selected sentences, what I do read is alot of " mays", " could ", and while this is a possible technique to requeen, at the end of the day it comes with less then certian outcome didn't fail to notice no percentages of acceptance rates. Please show me the errors of what I am and had read???
    Methods
    by which the bees may be encouraged or induced into producing a replacement queen without swarming.
    Much of this text has been written by my friend Ken Hoare, the illustrations and layout can be blamed on me.
    The most sure-fire method of requeening a colony is to find the old queen and cull her. Then a nucleus or full-size colony with a mated and laying queen can easily be united with a 99.9% chance of success.
    But there will be times when a colony needs re-queening and it proves difficult to find the old queen. There could be several reasons, most likely inexperience of the beekeeper, aggressive nature of the bees and possibly the number of bees present within a brood box, or possibly multiple brood boxes.
    Recent posts on the Irish bee list discussion group has suggested a system known as 'Virgin Drop' could re-queen a colony without the need to find the old queen. In the simplest of terms a colony is heavily smoked at the entrance and a virgin queen which has had no contact with other bees, i.e. a queen 'pulled' from a cell or a queen raised in an incubator, is dropped into the top of the hive. This is a system practised in New Zealand and the Americas with, I understand, a good success rate. A commercial beekeeper in the United Kingdom has stated he didn't experience the same, in fact he had high losses when using virgin drop. So possibly the strain of bee can influence the outcome, the lighter strains being easier to introduce. The loss of introduced queens might be acceptable to some commercial beekeepers (time is money syndrome and in New Zealand and America virgin queens are easily and cheaply available), but generally the UK hobbyist beekeeper will be unhappy to tolerate any loss of introduced queens.
    As long ago as 1992 the Devon Apicultural Research Group (DARG) members decided to test Induced Supersedure and generally the results were very favourable.
    I have already mentioned, and believe it is common knowledge, that before introducing a new queen into a colony it is necessary to find the old queen and remove her. Otherwise any introduced mated or virgin queen will be destroyed. An unprotected queen cell placed into a hive where a queen is present will normally be destroyed by one side of the cell being broken down. But if this cell is protected there is a good chance of successful introduction, both original and new queen will be present and one will be killed or starved, but eventually ejected from the hive... The natural supersedure instinct of the honeybee.
    Unless the original queen is marked it will be impossible to discover if the new queen from the cell has been accepted in favour of the original queen, well impossible other than a noticeable change of colour of later workers. Consequently in order to prove the success of the method to yourself I recommend every effort is made to find and mark the old queen.
    [TABLE="class: norm100"]
    [TR]
    [TD]The method of inducing supersedure is simple. Cells can be from many sources, swarm cells, cells from grafted larva, cells produced using a Jenter type cage, all can satisfactorily be used. If possible the tip of the cell should be 'bronzed' (as the one illustrated at right indicates "bronzing") meaning that it is maybe one to three days away from emergence. I cannot emphasise enough the necessity of treating these cells gently and keeping them upright. Laying them on their sides at this stage can result in a damaged queen. It should not be difficult to bore suitable size holes into a block of polystyrene or florists 'Oasis' block into which the cells can be held upright pending introduction into a hive. [/TD]
    [TH][/TH]
    [TH][​IMG][/TH]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [TABLE="class: norm100"]
    [TR]
    [TD]The sides of the queen cell must be protected otherwise, as previously stated, it is likely they will be torn down. Protection can be as simple as aluminium kitchen foil wrapped around the sides of the cell, or possibly cone shapes can be cut from the neck of say shampoo bottles, or purpose-made 'cell protectors' are available from the appliance dealers. These exist in many types, the commonest is made from spiral wound wire (as right) with a plate at the top which prevents access to the cell from the top end and a short length of the wire which easily pushes into the comb to fix it in position.
    [/TD]
    [TH][/TH]
    [TH][​IMG][/TH]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    In use the protected cell is fixed into the face of a brood comb, the central area of the comb is best, the position where supersedure cells will normally be built. In the United Kingdom, probably most of the Northern Hemisphere, July will be the best month to introduce protected cells as this will be about the time that normal supersedure's take place. Having introduce the protected cell into the colony the hive is closed and left for about one month. By this time the new queen, if she has been accepted, will be mated and laying and the old queen is unlikely to be present.
    The success rate of the method is greatly increased if the queen to be replaced is in at least her second season.
    But if the system has failed, I always think the 'angry' stocks are the most difficult to re queen, well nothing will be lost. The original queen will still be present and you will be left to discover an alternative way of requeening.
    Ken Hoare
    Ken has written the above from a knowledge base that has a Southern England bias... I would further comment that the timings can be about a fortnight later if you are North of Northampton and that in these more northerly areas it is quite common for a period of side by side laying of the old and new queens.
    Failure rates given above are not actually as bad as pure numbers may suggest. There may well be defects in the virgin that only the bees are capable of properly determining. In these cases the original queen will be retained by the bees and so although the result is "a failure" from the point of view of requeening, it is actually to the bees advantage (and thus the beekeeper's as well).
    As a result of wide differences in percentages for effectiveness, reported from different parts of the world, Ken has suggested a trial that can easily be instigated by hobby beekeepers.
     
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