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Author Topic: Questions regarding holding queens and splits  (Read 808 times)
House Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 69

Location: Littlerock, CA

« on: July 18, 2011, 11:27:55 PM »

I am expecting two mail order queens on August 1. I want to split my hives and introduce the new queens after determining which boxes are queenless. I saw a video by M Palmer that showed how he held the queen cage on top of the hives and you could tell that they were eager to accept the queen. He also said that you would see aggressive behavior such as biting the cage if the hive was queenright. I was thinking of equalizing and splitting the two hives two days prior to the anticipated delivery date. If I need to, what is a good procedure for holding a queen in the cage for a couple of days if necessary?

It is what it is
Michael Bush
Universal Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 13989

Location: Nehawka, NE

« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 11:58:26 PM »

Put the cage in a dark (think closet or basement) cool (like 60-80 F again think basement or closet) place and give them one drop of water a day.  If you insist, you could do one in the morning and one in the evening, but more is too much.  Make sure they don't run out of candy and that at least most of the attendants are still alive.  You can keep them like this until the attendants die, then you can replace the attendants... Smiley


Michael Bush
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Galactic Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 4519

Location: Mid Michigan

« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2011, 12:35:44 AM »

I’ve also found the basement works great.   When I get queens by the mail, they’re usually pretty riled up.  I suppose I would be too, going thru the mail system.  I put them in a closest in the cool basement, drop a drop of water on their cage with my finger and leave them there until I’m really to stick them in a hive later that day or the next day.  They really calm down fast in the basement.

If you’re not sure which splits are queenless, I would double check before counting on the reaction of the bees to the queen in a cage to determine if a nuc is queenless.  If you’re an expert like MP, or MB, observation might work, but if you’re just a typical hobbyist you would be much better off

1. Checking again for a queen in the splits.  It is easier to see/find a queen in a nuc than a hive.
2. Check for the start of queen cells.  They start these quickly when queenless.

Finally I would not direct release.  If you are sure a hive is queenless or friendly to your new queen, you could drill a small hole (1/16) in the candy for quicker release, but I don’t usually do that.  They usually eat thru the candy pretty fast.
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