Direct introduction of mated and virgin queens using smoke: a method that gives almost 100% acceptance when hives have been queenless for 2 days or more.

publication date: Dec 1, 2008
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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 47 (4) pp. 243 - 250 
DOI
Date
December 2008
 
Article Title

Direct introduction of mated and virgin queens using smoke: a method that gives almost 100% acceptance when hives have been queenless for 2 days or more.
Author(s)

J Antonio Perez-Sato, Martin H. Kärcher,
William O H Hughes, Francis L W Ratnieks.

Abstract

We compared the acceptance of virgin and mated queens introduced into queenless hives using either artificial queen cells or direct introduction accompanied by smoke.  In Experiment 1, virgin queens aged 3-4 days were introduced into 5-frame hives than had been dequeened 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 days previously.  Acceptance increased significantly with the length of time a colony had been queenless, and direct introduction gave significantly greater success than artificial queen cells (between 31% and 100% acceptance vs. 8% to 92% for cell or direct introduction respectively, depending on the period of queenlessness).  In Experiment 2, virgin and mated queens were introduced into 2-frame observation hives that had been dequeened 1, 2, 3 and 4 days previously.  The probability of acceptance was significantly higher for mated queens than virgins, for direct introduction versus artificial queen cells, and for longer queenless periods.  Accordingly, the probability of a queen being balled by the workers declined significantly with the duration of the queenless period, and was significantly less for mated versus virgin queens.  Finally, in Experiment 3, we introduced mated queens into medium-sized hives (10 medium Langstroth frames) that had been queenless for 2 days using both the direct introduction and artificial cells.  All queens were accepted.

Keywords

Apis mellifera mellifera, virgin queen, mated queen, queen introduction, queen rearing, queen balling, observation hive, artificial queen cell

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