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Author Topic: Introducing a caged queen, when there MAY be a new, young queen in the hive.  (Read 679 times)
Rucher PX
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« on: June 30, 2013, 01:32:08 PM »

After realizing my hive was queenless, and had one used emergency queen cell, I searched unsuccessfully for a new, young, unmated queen.

I decided to order a caged queen, and inserted it into the brood chamber 48 hours ago, but with duct tape over the candy cork.

When I entered the hive today, I expected to have a clear answer as to whether there was a new young unmated queen in the hive, but no such luck.

I expected that if the bees were calm and not at all around the cage, then I could take off the duct tape as there would be no other queen in the hive and they would accept their new queen.

Or, if there was a new, young, unmated queen, I expected many many workers to be balling around the cage furiously, and acting really aggressively toward me.

What happened instead was there were about twenty bees on the cage, and the bees in general were slightly agitated, but certainly not crazy aggressive.

I took off the duct tape, but now I am questioning myself.

My question is: should I expect to see dozens of bees all over the cage in a big ball if there is a new, young, unmated queen in the hive? Or were those twenty bees on the cage enough to confirm the presence of another queen?

For a fuller explanation, please see google: "playpenning" and "wordpress" to read my blog.

Thanks for any help you can offer!
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AR Beekeeper
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2013, 04:15:04 PM »

When you attempted to cause the bees to move off the cage screen by passing your finger along the screen, did the bees move out of the way easily or did they grip the screen tightly?  Bees showing agression will grip the screen and will be hard to move out of the way, also they will often bow their bodies in a stinging position.
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2013, 10:16:42 PM »

in the future a really simple way to check for a queen is to put a frame of eggs in the hive.  if they are queenless, they will start queen cells.  if they have one, even unmated, they will not.  it's not fool proof, but it's cheaper than buying queens.

there is no harm in leaving the queen in a cage for a bit.  her attendants will care for her or the bees from the outside will if they are not trying to kill her.  to often we rush to release the queen and have poor results. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 09:11:16 AM »

>Introducing a caged queen, when there MAY be a new, young queen in the hive.

Which is why I would never buy a queen when the status of the hive is unknown.  The odds are there IS a queen (bees sometimes end up queenless but more often they succeed in raising a new queen) and so the odds are you are condemning the new bought queen to death.  If there IS a virgin in the hive they will kill the purchased queen.  A frame of eggs and open brood is a safer bet and costs nothing.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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