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Author Topic: Early requeening  (Read 343 times)

Offline Old Goat

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Early requeening
« on: April 14, 2021, 09:24:06 am »
     I have a colony with a struggling queen, and I feel like I should replace her. Although I prefer buying local queens it is to early here to find a queen. My next option would be to buy a queen from a southern producer but, I had another Idea.

      I have 2 packages coming the end of April. My thought was to combine the packages with one queen on drawn comb, then use the second queen to replace the lady in my struggling hive.

     I am about a month or a little more to the start of the main flow, and I was hoping this would give me a shot at two production hives rather than three unproductive colonies. Anything I am missing? Or maybe this is not a good idea at all?

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Early requeening
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2021, 05:07:03 pm »
Did you like her performance over the past # years up to now?  Is this an old queen slowing or is it a young crappy queen?   If it is an old queen that you liked her past performance, setup 2 preferably 3 mini nucs and graft some cells from her.  In other words, make your own queens.  Keep the mother queen going in the hive as long as you can. One of two outcomes will transpire. 
A.  Over the next week or two the hive bees will naturally proceed with a supercedure. You will have to do nothing, and should do nothing. Let it happen. The queens you are making in the mini-nuc are your contingency for if the SS fails.
B.  The supercedure fails or does not happen at all. You keep an eye on the mini-nuc and when one of those is ready you take her over and requeen the hive.

The two packages that are coming, install them as normal and manage them as normal. When those are up and running, in 3 weeks you can look at all three hives together and at that time consider moving some brood frames around to power level all three to be the same.

Hope that helps!

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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Early requeening
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2021, 06:40:01 pm »
I know it is only a variation of what Mr HP says  but you could take the queen and a frame of brood and some bees and put her in a nuc.
Let the hive then form some QC's and produce a new queen. make sure you leave a frame with eggs behind.
You still have the old queen to graft cells off ( but only if she was a good queen failing from age).
Making a few nucs is a good idea as it gives you options for the future, they don't have to end up as hives if you don't want to increase numbers.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Early requeening
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2021, 06:30:00 pm »
Yes I learned school-of-hard-knocks what HP and OB said is the way to go.  I took out a great Queen diminishing fast and in 3rd year, and expected to get lots of supercedure cells due to the season.   But there was only one and she didn't make it back from mating. 

Weird year...usu have 80% success on queens returning.  This year,  only about 40% success.  All nucs were made after drones appeared and Carolina laurel started blooming....a whole month after my photos from last year.  Anyhoo...now...would def. put the good Q in a three frame split even if it meant only 3 frames with eggs were left behind.

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Early requeening
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2021, 07:39:19 am »
All our nucs are splattered all over the place, next to trees, logs, pipes anything that allows the queen to orientate on and get back.
No 2 nucs have the same view.
All our nucs are multi colored and if one looks similar to a close one i will get the spray can and put a shape on the front, X, O or anything.
All helps to get the young queen back to the right hive. We run at about 90% of successful establishment.
I don't like orderly nucs in a row or pattern.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Early requeening
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2021, 09:20:26 am »
All our nucs are splattered all over the place, next to trees, logs, pipes anything that allows the queen to orientate on and get back.
No 2 nucs have the same view.
All our nucs are multi colored and if one looks similar to a close one i will get the spray can and put a shape on the front, X, O or anything.
All helps to get the young queen back to the right hive. We run at about 90% of successful establishment.
I don't like orderly nucs in a row or pattern.

You are the second person that I have heard describing this method with similar results.✔️
« Last Edit: April 18, 2021, 12:38:16 am by Ben Framed »
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Early requeening
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2021, 09:47:37 am »
OB, Great tip! My nucs were mixed between 10-frame gear of various heights,  and not more than 5 hives facing same direction at any place.  Also a few colors of entrance reducers.  All have landing boards.

I have R-5 pink foam under nucs & nucs newly moved to 10-frame equipment; black beetle traps under the larger hives. I hoped that would distinguish them.  Still, it may not have been enough distinction.

Probably doesn't help that my area is saturated with bluejays swooping through the apiary area, they eat on the run.

One failure was combination bee and beek error.  I try to space the frames apart a little in the egg section of the nest.  Still, the bees made burr comb around the Q cell, and connected the Q cell wax to the next frame....which sadly I discovered when I carefully removed the adjacent frame.   The wax tore... and there was a snow white queen about 10 days old.  Both me AND the bees made that little whining noise, you know the sound.....
« Last Edit: April 17, 2021, 10:17:58 am by FloridaGardener »

Offline Old Goat

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Re: Early requeening
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2021, 10:16:56 am »
First thank you for the replies. I apologize, I have been having problems with my internet provider and have not been able to get back on the site for any length of time.

It is an old queen that did very well last year. I have never grafted before, but I have all of the equipment and I will try my hand at it.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Early requeening
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2021, 03:34:13 pm »
On unsuccessful requeening -

Just spoke with a commercial expert.   Something I hadn't considered: When the bees get too old, but aren't laying workers yet - or not LW  because they've had a frame of eggs introduced every week for 3-4 weeks - then as soon as the Q emerges from the cell...

....they kill her.

And that's why I'm thinking each Q is not making it back from mating flights.  The hive has become a shakeout, even though they are not LW yet.

Cue: They fly off the frame as soon as it's lifted out.