Virgin Queen question


How long can/should you leave a newly hatched Virgin Queen in the queen hatching cage? ... specifically, can she be left in there for [up to] 7 days?

Background story - I'm raising a few queens via the Nicot system. The breeder queen didn't want to lay for the 1st couple days, so I left her in there another 2 days. This morning I checked, and she had layed up the cups. ... I already had the brood pulled up above an excluder on 4 strong hives - to be ready to get the nurse bees for the Cell Starter hive. ... so I moved the cups to the Queen rearing frames (3 frames - 30 cups), and packed the hive with nurse bees.

20 mins after I was all done creating the Starter and installing the frames, I realized - I'm going to be out of town [now] when they hatch.  :embarassed: ... because of her delay in laying. ...

Thoughts and opinions welcome.  :grin: :embarassed: :grin:

This will not be a problem. It normally takes 7 days for the queens to leave the hive to mate. As long as the bees can feed them through the cages they will be fine. Make sure there is not a queen in the hive or there is a double screen below the queen cages and the hive queen.
Jim Altmiller

If my calculations are correct, your original plan was for them to hatch 2 days before they are scheduled to now. In that case, you would still be in town when the cells are on day 13 and 14, 2 to 3 days before hatching. That is when I would make up the nucs or mating boxes and install the cells.

Thanks Jim. I appreciate the feedback.

Iddee - by my calculations, I'll be leaving on day 13. Is it safe to move the capped QC's on that day? ... I was under the impression that they were easily damaged until day 15.

More details: The eggs I moved on the 30th were all "standing up" still. This means they were layed on the 29th? ... I'm leaving on the 10th, so that is day 13 I think? ... I have time on the 10th to move the QC's to nucs if it's safe to do so.

Also, I "should" have many more QC's than I need, so I could actually do both: 1) move QC'S on the 10th, & 2) replace any un-hatched ones when I get back.

Thank you for the responses & patience. This is new territory for me  :grin:

Haven't cruised through this section in awhile.  So apologies this response is way late.  However, on the subject of caged virgin queens I can offer in retrospect a couple comments/pointers that work for me.

Newly emerged virgins usually die in a matter of hours in the cage, UNLESS you do the following.
- add honey to the cage.  If you are using roller cages, notice that the end cap has dimples in it. Fill those dimples with honey.  The first thing she does when she emerges is stick her head in a cell and eat.  Put honey in the cage for her.
- add attendants to the cage, as a cell. The new queen needs help to get out.  The bees will remove, shave the wax over the end of the cell so only her silk cocoon is left.  The queen then need only chew the silk to get out.  The new queen also needs assistance with grooming and hardening. Unlike a dog, the queen bee cannot lick and groom her abdomen of remnants from her cell development. The attendants do this.  I add a minimum of 5 nurse bees to each roller cage before putting the ripe cell in it.
- bank the virgin queens in a queenless colony that has lots of bees.  The bees outside the cages will keep them warm and tongue through to the attendants and the queen to feed them.
- Best not to bank the for more than 10 days.  Get them into a split or a nuc soon as you can.
- Introduce her into a queenless nuc or split in a JZBZ minicage with a short fuse, single mini marshmallow. AND a some squirts of warm sugar water laced with honeyBhealthy on everybeebody around the cage area.  Install the cage in the evening at dusk.  Stay out 10 days.

Hope that helps!


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