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Author Topic: When to re-queen?  (Read 216 times)

Offline Bob Wilson

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When to re-queen?
« on: April 24, 2021, 11:25:22 pm »
I pulled a queen from a hive with swarm cells, and installed her in a nuc. The origonal hive built up very quickly this spring. And yet, the queen is doing nothing in the nuc I set up for her.
1. We are in honey flow
2. My other queens are laying well.
3. this queen has a patch of brood and eggs a large as my hand, but there is another entire frame of empty polished comb in the nuc, untouched for the last two weeks, as well as two foundationless frames untouched.
4. The population in not building up.
Could she be on her last leg? She is only in her second year, but I lean towards culling her. Is there any reason why not? As a third year beek, I hesitate to blame the queen for my possible mis-management, yet I don't see any reason she shouldn't be building up. No pest, no disease, clean box. She is robbing me of being able to use that nuc for resources, because her colony isn't producing any.

Online AR Beekeeper

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Re: When to re-queen?
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2021, 11:56:38 pm »
My average time for queens in full production colonies is 14 to 16 months before they are superseded.

If your nuc is strong in adult bees (4 frames well covered) and has nectar/pollen coming in she should be laying 4 to 6 hundred eggs a day.  If the nuc only has 2 frames of bees and no frames of stored food she can only lay at a reduced rate because there are not enough nurse bees to care for the brood.  The queen could be laying, but the nurse bees will eat the eggs if there are more than they can care for.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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When to re-queen?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2021, 01:49:53 am »
I concur with AR.  The queen lays the eggs.  The bees make the bees.  There will only ever be as much brood as there are bees to make it. That may or may not be the case.
The other possibility is the queen herself has still got her own mind set on swarming. She is still in swarm mode and is waiting for a group of bees to usher her to the door.
I have also seen queens quite laying for a period, never measured it, perhaps a week to 10 days. Like she was waiting for the bees and the brood to catch up to her. When she restarts she goes gangbusters.
If she is ticking you off, go ahead and pinch her off.  If you are feeling tolerant, perhaps give that nuc a shake of a couple frames of lots of fresh nurse bees and see what she has done 3 to 5 days later.  Remember the Bees 3s.  It takes 3 frames of bees to forage and look after 1 frame of brood.  If you are expecting her to have 2 big frames of brood on the go, you need 6 frames of bees coming and going and walking around in that nuc.

It is a common mistake where folks make the nuc population too small for it to progress.  You did not say anything about how big that nuc is so I am not saying that is the issue.  Just pointing to that as a possibility to look at. Bees make more bees which make more bees which make more bees ....  The trick is figuring out what that minimum amount of bees to start with has to be in order to see boisterous growth.  My experience has brought me to that 3 to 1 ratio to have a good startup.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2021, 08:22:21 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: When to re-queen?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2021, 04:55:24 am »
I agree with HP, may need more bees, we set up a 4 frame nuc with 2 frames of brood and bees. As the brood hatches there are plenty of bees to support a queen.
Another angle, were they swarm cells or supersede cells that were in the hive, had the bees decided she was on the way out. Try more bees and see what happens.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: When to re-queen?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2021, 10:39:19 pm »
I understand. I gave her a frame of capped brood and nurse bees from the other nuc. Thanks.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: When to re-queen?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2021, 10:43:03 pm »
On a side note, I marked a queen today and I think I hurt her in the process. I hope they don't ball her.
I think I am going to skip marking queens from now on. With just a few hives, all I really need to see are eggs and larva. You guys taught me that.

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: When to re-queen?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2021, 06:02:05 am »
Bob, practice your gentle touch on the drones.
Interesting if you mark a heap of drones in one hive, then when looking in other hive you may find some marked drones.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: When to re-queen?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2021, 11:13:48 am »
Bob, practice your gentle touch on the drones.
Interesting if you mark a heap of drones in one hive, then when looking in other hive you may find some marked drones.

Be sure and use a color different than the queen  lol 😆
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