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Author Topic: Queen Introduction - a 100% guaranteed successful method.  (Read 429 times)

Offline little john

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This is not my idea - got it from the Dave Cushman site a fair few years ago.  The guys there have never had a failure, and I've never had a failure using this method either.

The kit involves a Crown Board (Inner Cover) with a hole cut into it, big enough to take a mailing cage, and some kind of transparent plastic cover (ex supermarket coleslaw container ?).

This is one I set up today, in the central section of a 3-partition Timing Box, arranged as 4-3-4 frames, with QX dividers between sections.  In the central section were placed 1x frame of open brood, 1x good frame of pollen and 1x new, clean, pre-drawn brood comb. On the other side of each QX is a frame of stores - one capped, one open, with the remaining slots filled with pre-drawn empty combs as fillers. Anti-robbing screens are fitted to each entrance.

Here's an enlarged shot of the 'hedgehog' clustered on top of the mailing cage which will remain there for a day or two.  The cage - which is lying directly on top of the frame top bars has a solid slide which is currently acting as a floor, to prevent bees from gaining access from below to pull at the queen's legs.

After a couple of days I expect this 'hedgehog' to be much smaller and less aggressive, at which time I'll slide a skewer or toothpick across the cage upper surface.  Should the skewer meet with any resistance, then the cage will be replaced and tested again the next day.  As soon as the skewer can be slid gently across the cage surface with the bees lifting their feet obligingly, rather than gripping-on like velcro, then this will be taken as a sign that they've finally accepted this new queen.  I prefer to then wait a further 24 hrs as 'belt and braces', at which time the mailing cage is opened, and the queen directly released into the hive.

I wouldn't invest so much effort for a bog-standard queen, but for a breeder I consider this to be a worthwhile investment of time and effort.  Not one single failure has been reported to date.
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Queen Introduction - a 100% guaranteed successful method.
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2017, 06:33:17 am »
Good info LJ. I like the skewer idea, I think it is a good idea for new bees.
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Rurification

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Re: Queen Introduction - a 100% guaranteed successful method.
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 02:14:40 pm »
Great information!  Thanks for showing us. 
Robin Edmundson

Beekeeping since 2012

Offline little john

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Re: Queen Introduction - a 100% guaranteed successful method.
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2017, 08:12:35 am »
Thanks for the positives ...

Bit of an update - this how the cage looked after 24 hrs:

As you can see the 'hedgehog' has dispersed a little, but there's still a concentration of bees around the ventilation holes in the mailing cage.

This how it looked after 48 hrs (i.e. first thing this morning):

The number of bees has further reduced, such that some of the vent holes are now visible.  What you can't see fom a static photograph is that unlike the photo in the original post, these bees are no longer stuck to the cage like velcro, but are now fully mobile - milling around, doing whatever it is that bees do whilst waiting for some eggs to care for.

About two hours afterwards the sun came out, and so I did 'the skewer test', which confirmed that the bees have now accepted the presence of this new queen. So - tomorrow I'll pull the brood comb, just to check for any Queen-Cells which may have been started, and then directly release this Queen into the colony.

But - I wouldn't want to give the impression that it always goes as smoothly as this. On one occasion a queen was observed to still be facing aggression after 7 days. Had I introduced her via the timed fondant-release method, then I'm sure she would have been killed.  As it was, I removed the mailing cage and gave it to a different nucleus colony (still using the same method), where she was accepted without difficulty after 2 days.
A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping - http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com