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Author Topic: New Queens - Remove Attendants before Installing?  (Read 2976 times)
Joe
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« on: June 15, 2006, 02:21:29 PM »

I have read in a few places that some people remove attendants from queen cages when installing new queens into hives.  I have never done so and have never had any problems that I am aware of. Why would one want to remove the attendants?
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mat
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2006, 03:23:07 PM »

I just brought and introduced queens from Dan Conlon. He is an expert here in Massachusetts. He cages the queens alone without workers for better chance of acceptance. I didn't have chance to talk to him but my thinking is that caged workers can be kind of defendant trying to protect the queen and cause fights.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2006, 06:43:00 PM »

The reason for the attendents is that it is not always possible to introduce a queen immediately to a hive or due to delay during shipment.  The attendents are there to insure that the queen is fed and kept alive.  When I raise my own queens I put her in alone but then I usually introduce my queens as virgins and let her do her mating flights from the new hive.  I know I'm going to hear about that.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2006, 07:27:10 PM »

In my opinion, if it's a simple queen introduction, not a hot hive, hadn't been queenless more than 24 hours, hasn't rejected any other queens, IS queenless and has been for at least 12 hours, then I don't see much difference in removing the attendants are not.  If there are complications and you have any reason to suspect they may not want to accept the queen, then take remove the attendants.  In fact, make a push in cage and introduce the queen on some emerging brood.

The problem is, especially for a beginner, how do you remove the attendants and not lose the queen?  The odds of the queen flying are higher than the odds or them rejecting the queen, unless you have reason to suspect they might.

Reasons to suspect a diffcult introduction:

A hot hive.  A laying worker hive.  A hive that might have a virgin queen.  I have that might have queen cells (been queenless more than 24 hours).  A hive that has already rejected one queen.  A hive of Italians that you are introducing a Russian queen to.
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Michael Bush
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qa33010
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2006, 01:08:12 AM »

After finally making it to a local (1 hour away) beekeepers meeting Thursday a wise older beekeeper addressed this very thing.  IMHO, after he explained how he does it, I thought it quite simple.  

   What he said he does is he takes them to a bathroom and has all lights turned off.  Over at the window he opens the cage and lets all the bees out.  If the attendents come out before the queen...GREAT.  Otherwise he waits till they are all on the window (going for the light) and catches the queen then puts her back in the cage.  When this is done he releases the now former attendents and inserts the caged queen into the hive.

   Now if I can get the knack of catching a queen without smushing her...

I'll have a chance to do this this fall.  Hopefully no sooner.

David

Unfortunately I was late and didn't get to hear all of Johns' presentation.
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Everyone said it couldn't be done. But he with a chuckle replied, "I won't be one to say it is so, until I give it a try."  So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin.  If he had a worry he hid it and he started to sing as he tackled that thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.  (unknown)
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2006, 06:54:54 AM »

I am like Brian.  I introduce queens as virgins, and let them take a mating flight from there depending on the situation.  I just had a queenless hive, with no brood.  I wouldn't put a virgin in that hive.

    As far as taking the attendants out,  I don't think it really matters.  They are in there to feed the queen during shipping.  If you send a queen alone, not in a package, all the bees eat is the candy.  The queen feels far too important to dine on the candy, unless she is pampered!
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Dale Richards
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2006, 03:19:01 PM »

The last couple of time I bought queens, they are in a mini-bank.  6 to 10 queens each in her own cage, in a tupperware bowl with lid.  The lid had holes punched in it, with a spoon full of honey in the bottom, along with a tissue soaked in water.  Then about 30 to 40 workers were added.  Worked like a charm.  Just pulled individual cages from the bank to introduce them.  I kept one in the kitchen for over a month, no probs.  Wonder if MB could get a few dozen queens through winter that way and if they would be viable come spring?  Maybe make his obs hive queenless, and turn it into a queen bank even.
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ctsoth
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2006, 04:19:44 PM »

The idea of seeing if you can keep a queen over winter is very interesting...  Would all the workers die out over winter because they are not clustered though???  Off the top of my head I think keeping the attendants alive would be harder.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2006, 07:35:24 AM »

>Worked like a charm. Just pulled individual cages from the bank to introduce them. I kept one in the kitchen for over a month, no probs. Wonder if MB could get a few dozen queens through winter that way and if they would be viable come spring? Maybe make his obs hive queenless, and turn it into a queen bank even.

I tried banking them in a five frame nuc with some heat.  I think it might have worked if the feeders didn't leak.  I tried to pack it with bees.  It was in my nuc setup with some heat from behind and a terraium heater underneath to keep them from clustering.

I also thought of using the observation hive.  But even they kind of cluster.  Maybe they wouldn't with the queens there.  But they usually need to rear a couple of little batches of brood to make it through the winter.

I've kept them in a "non free flying" queen bank with loose workers before. The workers are good for a couple of weeks.  You might stretch it out to a month but they are smelling pretty funky by then and start dying.  You'd need to get fresh attendants from time to time.  I'm not sure how some off of a winter cluster will take to the queens.  Maybe if you got a little from three different clusters they'd do ok.  I'll have to give that some thought.
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Michael Bush
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Joe
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2006, 09:14:25 AM »

I appreciate all of the replies and it looks like the purpose of removing attendants is to increase the acceptance of the new queen, but usually only done when the beekeeper thinks that her acceptance may be troublesome.

Originally, I thought maybe it was to help reduce the transfer of disease, but I didn't think that sounded right, if the attendants are sick, then the queen would likely be sick as well.
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2006, 11:41:51 AM »

Joe.  Sorry for not answering your question and running off with the thread.  Introducing queens with their attendants worked pretty well for a long time.  I just find it interesting that they don't even include attendants caged with the queens I've purchased the last few years.  I guess they are saving a ton of money by providing cages that are about 1/4 the size.  I haven't seen a 3 hole cage in several years.

MB.  I did replace the free flying attendants in the bank once.  Certainly a chanllenge in the middle of winter to swap them out, let alone the age of the bees making acceptance more difficult.  I hadn't thought about that.
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Finsky
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2006, 11:48:12 AM »

I think that hive react attendans as enemies and try to kill them. When cage get poison, queen will be marked as well with poison scent.

Scent of queen hinds bees to attach on queen or they attach at once. But scent of foreign worker they surely not accept.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2006, 08:55:50 PM »

That's a good observation Finsky.  Which is why the push in cages work so well.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
tig
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2006, 01:12:09 AM »

I used to introduce my queens with their attendant bees and got a pretty high mortality figure.  Last month i tried the other way and that was removing all the attendant bees and introducing the queen alone and my mortality rate went way down.  the reasoning i"m using is that sometimes the attendant bees are older bees by the time you get to introduce the queen, and the queenless bees view them as intruders and become vicous towards them including the queen. To remove the attendant bees, get hold of flat sweezers and remove the cork on the cage.  Push in the tweezers and grab the attendants.  This is done preferably in a room with windows closed in case the queen manages an escape.

Before introducing the queen, we examine the hive to make sure there are no queen cells.  Once thats clear, i put the queen with the cages corked between two frames.  After 2-3 days I examine the queens and the bees clinging onto the cage.  Any sign of aggression and i remove the queen...for sure she'll not be accepted!  More often than not, the bees will be calm and you can see the queen begging for food and the bees feeding her thru the cage.  Once the bees start to feed the queen, thats almost 100 % acceptance and we go ahead and remove the cork and let them eat her way out thru the candy.

The safest method for me, but the most in work is this method.  We remove a food frame and frames of emerging brood....no larva or eggs preferably.  We make the nuc sit beside the mother colony for a day to encourage the adult bees to go back to the mother colony, leaving the nuc with mostly baby bees.  Then we move the nuc to another location far from the mother colony.  In 2 days time a lot of the bees would have emerged and not having any larva, have nothing to make a queen cell from.  This however is not fool proof, so we still examine the combs for any queen cell.  If there is no queen cell, we go ahead and uncork the queen we are to introduce.  Acceptance is very good since the nuc contains mostly baby bees.  If they have managed to make a queen cell, we destroy the queen cell and introduce the queen several hours later this gives the bees time to realize they are "queenless" once again.
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Finsky
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2006, 02:56:02 AM »

Quote from: tig
The safest method for me, but the most in work is this method.  We remove a food frame and frames of emerging brood....no larva or eggs preferably.  We make the nuc sit beside the mother colony for a day to encourage the adult bees to go back to the mother colony, leaving the nuc with mostly baby bees.  


If i want to be sure that queen stay alive, I make a nuc from emerging bees on the top of hife. It is like above but I shake all bees away.  I put  a mesh between nuc and hive. Sonuc gets warm upstairs.

Then queen inside and I stuck all entrances to nuc for 2-3 days. During that time queen starts egg laying and it get odor of lower hive.  This is 100% system.

But before I do this, I use to offer queen right away. If bees do not show any special sign and they just tap with their antennas I let queen into hive.  It depends so much the situation of hive and time of summer how bees think about queen. If it is late summer bees try to kill 90% of bees and in the middle of summer I may change queens directly.
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