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How long after making split to introduce queen cage


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Hi Guys,

What is everyones opinion or knowledge of research as to when to introduce queen cage after making a split? So if I made up 20 splits on a Monday morning, how long would I wait to introduce a mated queen in a cage. A few hours, overnight, couple of days???

Over the years I have usually done the same day or the next day and never noticed any issues.

Reason I ask is I recently made up 20 splits and introduced some caged mated queens after about 4 hours. I went back after 5 days and 8 of the 20 queens were still in cages. Escort bees dead for these queens still trapped. The candy capping was rock hard. The breeder advised I should have waited at least overnight and suggested 2 nights being queenless before introducing mated queens. 6 of these splits have now superseded.

What are everyones thoughts. Thanks in advance.

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The problem with the Queen Introductions into those 20 splits was almost certainly candy issue, and that places the blame with person who supplied the Queens.  Candy should not go rock hard. Probably,

You mean on facebook? LOL, I've been getting lectured by people who have just got their first bees, or haven't actually got them yet, telling me what I'm doing wrong. 😁

I too have seen rock hard candy, made by the no honey method. I think the problem was most likely the candy.   Me, I make my candy with honey. Failproof.   Leaving a hive or split

1 hour ago, MackAp said:

The breeder advised I should have waited at least overnight and suggested 2 nights being queenless before introducing mated queens

R U sure that's what the breeder advised?  Why does it have to be queenless two nights before introduction?  And why was the candy rock hard?  The only time I have seen the candy go rock hard in the cage was late autumn in very cold weather; and I was aware that could happen.    

 

What do you mean by a split? A top split? A nuc?

 

I have never left a top split queenless overnight.  I want the newly emerged virgin from a cell or the mated caged laying queen accepted ASAP to avoid drifting to the bottom unit.  

 

In the event I make a nuc and I can't add a caged queen right there and then, I always thoroughly check for new queen cells in the colony and break these down.  I have seen new cells started to be drawn out within half an hour of being queenless! 

 

That's just my experience.  Others may have different opinions.  

 

 

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The split was into a full depth brood box taken away to a new site and mated queen introduced. Split was 3 or 4 frames of brood and a couple of frames of honey/pollen. Im not sure why the candy was rock hard. In my experience there is always no or very little candy left.

 

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1 hour ago, Maggie James said:

R U sure that's what the breeder advised?  Why does it have to be queenless two nights before introduction?  And why was the candy rock hard?  The only time I have seen the candy go rock hard in the cage was late autumn in very cold weather; and I was aware that could happen.    

 

What do you mean by a split? A top split? A nuc?

 

I have never left a top split queenless overnight.  I want the newly emerged virgin from a cell or the mated caged laying queen accepted ASAP to avoid drifting to the bottom unit.  

 

In the event I make a nuc and I can't add a caged queen right there and then, I always thoroughly check for new queen cells in the colony and break these down.  I have seen new cells started to be drawn out within half an hour of being queenless! 

 

That's just my experience.  Others may have different opinions.  

 

 

I advised the breeder of what happened, he asked how long after making split were cages put in. When I said same day, which is what I have always done, he said there was my problem, that I should have waited at least over night preferably 2 nights. He also mentioned maybe my angry bees balled the queen?

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If you have 3-4 frames of brood & bees, you have young nurse bees on these frames.  So that bit is correct.  I would still have checked if queen cell cups had been drawn out after the four hours you mention, and would have knocked these down before introducing the caged queen.  If there are any queen cells at any stage in the recipient colony you will lose your queen.  If she was dead in the cage after introduction, she has most likely been starved, due to presence of these cells.  

 

If the candy was rock hard, then there is more time for her pheromones to be distributed throughout the colony.  She cannot be balled through the grill.  If she was going to be balled it would have been when she emerged from the cage, and this can happen if there is lack of brood & young bees & the presence of grumpy overwintered bees. 

 

My candy from a Leeston beekeeper is always good consistency.  Good for hot or cold weather.  In the event I send a queen order off in hot weather, I always wrap up a bit of candy to allow for loss from consuming en route.  

 

These are only my thoughts from my experience, plus learning from very knowledgeable commercial beekeepers, and of course I have not heard the other side of this story.  

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Thank you for your replies Maggie. Im not out to get one over the queen breeder, just want to learn and not make the same mistake again if it is something I have done wrong. I did not check for queen cells when I put the cages in, I didnt think they would build cells within 4 hours - my bad . But I did check and tear cells after the 5 days when I had to manually release the queens because the bees did not chew through the candy. Usually I dont take the empty cage out until day 10 to make sure they havnt built any cells after the cage has gone in and before a virgin can emerge if they have. It just so happened that I was checking other hives at the same time and thought I would remove cages then so I didnt have to go back again.

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My candy maker uses inverted sugar and supplies many queen bee producers in NZ.  The candy is always  firm consistency, but malleable, able to be easily moulded.  I have never had any complaints - whether it be cold or hot weather.  

 

Where, when and by whom did the instruction come to leave the colonies queenless 1-2 nights?   

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

 

 

Where, when and by whom did the instruction come to leave the colonies queenless 1-2 nights?   

 

 

My guess is that the Instruction came from a book that is at least 100 years out of date.

Leaving a hive queenless so that they are desperate for a new Queen sound like a good idea but it is not and never has been.

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I agree sounds like a candy issue, it may be that the queens were caged for days before you received  them allowing the candy to harden. 
I make my own candy using inverted syrup and icing sugar.. but each time I introduce a mated queen I pop the cap on the candy section and check the firmness. Empty Cages with candy can go rock hard in a day or two so I keep the candy in a air sealed bag and add as I cage the queen. 

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We make our own candy with honey, like @David Yanke described and never  had one go rock hard when introducing a queen. Lucky that you went back there earlier and could release the queens manually, @MackAp.  We also introduce the new queen/cell straight away or as soon as possible after the split is made up and put in the new site, normally don't have any problems with that. 

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4 hours ago, Maggie James said:

The candy made in Leeston uses invert sugar with glycerine.  The recipe and mixer were purchased from Airbone Honey by a local beekeeping identity


im guessing you get yours from Barry which is who we get ours from.

Both the candy and the prompt service is top notch :) 

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On 5/11/2020 at 3:54 PM, MackAp said:

I advised the breeder of what happened, he asked how long after making split were cages put in. When I said same day, which is what I have always done, he said there was my problem, that I should have waited at least over night preferably 2 nights. He also mentioned maybe my angry bees balled the queen?


IMHO it seems to me your queen breeder doesn’t know what he’s talking about. 

Edited by frazzledfozzle
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Queen producers, quite rightly so, are also judged by their end product - a queen with excellent traits.  I have found this year there are a lot of people who have never worked in the commercial sector are mated laying queen producing experts.  Maybe there are some more "queen candy producers" out there.  

 

I have also found with cost cutting measures with non manuka producers they are switching their orders to queen cells, and getting advice on what equipment required and how to handle cells.  This suits me fine.  When a beekeeper purchases queen cells, they get a pretty good idea of what their end product in terms of queen & hive production will be, and they are also v aware because of the communication required for such a perishable product that the producer can talk the talk.   

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3 hours ago, Maggie James said:

Queen producers, quite rightly so, are also judged by their end product - a queen with excellent traits.  I have found this year there are a lot of people who have never worked in the commercial sector are mated laying queen producing experts.  Maybe there are some more "queen candy producers" out there.  

 

You mean on facebook? LOL, I've been getting lectured by people who have just got their first bees, or haven't actually got them yet, telling me what I'm doing wrong. 😁

Edited by Alastair
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Just now, john berry said:

I was always told to make candy with piping sugar rather than icing sugar as icing sugar contains starch which is not supposed to be good for the bees.

Is this just an old wives tale?

At my place is considered that bought icing sugar in stores has some amount of starch to prevent sugar clumping. We ( beekeepers) ice the sugar by ourselves when making fondants/patties and use it immediately ( cheaper and no starch). Some fondant producers use this starch characteristic to add more water in fondant and sell water to beeks. I try not to buy fondants, we make our owns, sometimes when I spend mine I buy couple. The ones we make are better..

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