Apidea misuse / banking virgin queens

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Messages
322
Reaction score
285
Location
Loughborough
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
11
I am hoping someone can explain what has happened/what I have done wrong here.

I have one little Apidea, which I have had for a few years, and have used - problem-free - for banking QCs, and getting these emerged/mated. Basically set (by adding a cupful of nurse bees from a couple of colonies, putting some fondant in the feeder slot, and plonking a QC in the middle) and forget. Boom. 100% success

This year has been bizarre for swarm urge. I have, on two occasions, gone into colonies, and have unexpectedly found myself releasing virgin queens.

Twice I have tried to bank them in the Apidea, and both times with the same disastrous results as below. In both cases:
- I added fondant to the feeder slot (yes, they are swimming/drowned in liquefied fondant)
- I shook in bees (admittedly fairly arbitrarily) from the source colony
- I ran the VQ in off my hand into the section with the comb
- I left closed/ventilated overnight, and then fully opened the entrance

Once, I can think I have made a mistake (e.g. by letting the Queen crawl over into the feeder section), but to see this twice is dispiriting... Any ideas ?? Basically, no bees in the comb section, no queen to be seen, and the remainder of bees all drowned in the feeder section. After 48 hours:

PXL_20230514_151843388.jpg

Only posting, not as I am proud, but as I would like to learn what I have done wrong, and help prevent others from making any similar mistake. Cheers 👍
 
Going in to colonies and finding virgins emerging is not uncommon. I think bees often hold them in but disturbed by the inspection they get released.
In terms of the fondant it’s likely liquefied by absorbing water and heat causing the issue, as with syrup use in mating nucs add some straw or something to aid as a float/ bridge and reduce the amount to what’s actually needed between inspecting.
 
I am hoping someone can explain what has happened/what I have done wrong here.

I have one little Apidea, which I have had for a few years, and have used - problem-free - for banking QCs, and getting these emerged/mated. Basically set (by adding a cupful of nurse bees from a couple of colonies, putting some fondant in the feeder slot, and plonking a QC in the middle) and forget. Boom. 100% success

This year has been bizarre for swarm urge. I have, on two occasions, gone into colonies, and have unexpectedly found myself releasing virgin queens.

Twice I have tried to bank them in the Apidea, and both times with the same disastrous results as below. In both cases:
- I added fondant to the feeder slot (yes, they are swimming/drowned in liquefied fondant)
- I shook in bees (admittedly fairly arbitrarily) from the source colony
- I ran the VQ in off my hand into the section with the comb
- I left closed/ventilated overnight, and then fully opened the entrance

Once, I can think I have made a mistake (e.g. by letting the Queen crawl over into the feeder section), but to see this twice is dispiriting... Any ideas ?? Basically, no bees in the comb section, no queen to be seen, and the remainder of bees all drowned in the feeder section. After 48 hours:

View attachment 36403

Only posting, not as I am proud, but as I would like to learn what I have done wrong, and help prevent others from making any similar mistake. Cheers 👍
I tend to put little twigs of different lengths (in all different directions and running from the bottom to the top including with some floating) in the feeder section.
I turn the box upside down and tip the bees in through the bottom then fill the feeder with sugar syrup once I've turned it upright ... then arrange the twigs. I would suggest not using fondant as it sounds like it be a surprise if it liquefies and might be hard to arrange floats and crawling twigs around it.
 
Last edited:
Are the queens getting stuck in the fondant? If so cut down a sheet metal QE to fit over the feeder.
It is the only assumption I can make, but there is a QE 'grille' between the two sections (slotted into the top), which has never given me any problems. I have always assumed it was fit for purpose (i.e. keeping the Queen confined to the 'comb' side).

The only thought I have is that, being a virgin in each case, she has been slim enough to slip through, and - for whatever reason - has become stuck/distressed/dead (by drowning?), and the other bees have gone in that side with her. The heat, in distress, has pressumably liquefied the fondant.

If that is the case, I am just a bit freaked out that this has happened twice on the trot now. Hmmmm
 
I have one of these which didn't come with a plastic cover allowing the queen to go into the feeder section. I have added a small sheet of plastic (freezer zip bag) as a crown board with the lid over. It stops the queen going through.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top