Commercial Only: Virgin banking question

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Alastair

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I'm trying something I haven't done before, hatching and banking virgins into cages with no bees. In an incubator not a hive. (and yes, I'm doing it now, these virgins won't mate but I'm perfecting my system or trying to).

In a hive one of the first things a newly hatched virgin does is beg food, I'm guessing it will get some sort of royal jelly. So rather than just give these virgins candy I would like to give them something with protein etc, maybe some pollem sub mixed with the candy.

Has anyone experimented with this or know anything about it?
 
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I'm trying something I haven't done before, hatching and banking virgins into cages with no bees. In an incubator not a hive. (and yes, I'm doing it now, these virgins won't mate but I'm perfecting my system or trying to).

In a hive one of the first things a newly hatched virgin does is beg food, I'm guessing it will get some sort of royal jelly. So rather than just give these virgins candy I would like to give them something with protein etc, maybe some pollem sub mixed with the candy.

Has anyone experimented with this or know anything about it?
I wouldn't do it. I like virgins to emerge among bees. Also, you say you are trying things but virgins will not mate in your trials. How can you determine the end result.
 
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Alastair

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Thanks for the reply Gerrit :) .

Well I've already done it now, got virgins caged in an incubator hatched last thursday. Feeding them straight candy and all are alive at this point.

As you say they will never mate so I won't know the end result, will have to try that in spring. Just doing what I can for now. I've also got virgins banked in some other set ups and planning to evaluate any differences between them on day 7 after hatching.

The reason for doing it now is simply because I have the time, and if I find something doesn't work I will not have to waste time repeating the experiment when the season starts.

There is an occasional drone still in my hives but I have not been able to harvest any semen from them they don't have any. So AI will have to wait till spring.
 
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Thanks for the reply Gerrit :) .

Well I've already done it now, got virgins caged in an incubator hatched last thursday. Feeding them straight candy and all are alive at this point.

As you say they will never mate so I won't know the end result, will have to try that in spring. Just doing what I can for now. I've also got virgins banked in some other set ups and planning to evaluate any differences between them on day 7 after hatching.

The reason for doing it now is simply because I have the time, and if I find something doesn't work I will not have to waste time repeating the experiment when the season starts.

There is an occasional drone still in my hives but I have not been able to harvest any semen from them they don't have any. So AI will have to wait till spring.
What's most important that the queens are going to produce good healthy brood and that is where I have my doubts, when virgins are not emerging in the hive among bees. At least I would keep the time of emergence and introducing them into the hive as short as possible.
 
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Alastair

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Hmm well today I found 3 of them dead so ended that method. I dissected one and it was dehydrated so keeping them in an incubator at 34 C with only candy and no water may have been an issue. The other queens stored in that way are now in cages with bees, and 1 to 1 syrup
 
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I tried something similar a few years ago. I tried feeding them honey or syrup in the bottom of the cages, but many of them got all sticky and died. Perhaps they need to be fed.

I have also noticed that they can’t really handle the incubator environment… perhaps just too hot. I have tried keeping caged mated queens with attendants and candy plugs in the incubator for a few days… they last better in a box on the bench! Again, it could have been the temperature at 34, but I don’t know fer sure.

The Americans say it can be done, but I haven’t nailed it yet and have gone back to hatching multiple virgins in queen banks. This works great and they stay alive for weeks.

My experiments have mostly been for getting older virgins (7 day) into mating nucs and dropping a week off each round of mated queens. So far I have had great success and great failure!
 
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Grant

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Can you control humidity in the incubator? Would that help? From what I read 50-70% RH, but this paper would suggest higher
 

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Alastair

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Good comment Grant, and the article is an interesting read. In this particular incubator humidity control is a bit dodge, I don't think it is reading humidity correctly. I put a secondary humidity gauge in and it gives a completely different reading. Something I'll continue to work on.
 
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I have done it. with success i might add.
There are many factors in it.
1. I see humidity of a much higher importness over temperature. In saying that -/+ 5 deg is fine for the queens. but best at a set temp or your hatching will be all over the place and mess with your time line of "next events"
2. don't use wood in the incubator. it can (and i reiterate this is my experience) harbor fungus and mess with the bees - use plastic.
3. buy a good incubator. An egg unit are total rubbish and unreliable (IMO) - don't get me wrong here its a scale of economy - they work fine for 20 cells - however I am hatching 300 at a time only to choose 50 tops for what i am doing, so i need the queens in tip top shape.

note:-
A. once you have the routine down pat it's just becomes an extension to keeping. If your looking at instrumentation, for get beekeeping with the added time line pressure it will really mess with your head, however is well worth it.
B. yes i do II and I wouldn't attempt it without the proper training.
C. the out come is soooo worth it

just a few ideas for ya.

good luck champ :)
 


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