RE-QUEENING

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by arkiebee, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I would like the wise advise of my fellow long-distance beekeepers about requeening. I have 6 hives - two I am going to split for sure because they are huge, but I have 3 hives that have either an old queen or one that hasn't performed well. One of my hives has a new queen from last year, and she has done well so I am keeping her around.

    I don't want to chase after swarms again this year even though I know there isn' a foolproof method for preventing swarms.

    I have never "requeened" because I have just let the bees do their "natural" thing -

    I would just like to hear your takes about requeening - when, why, how?, etc.

    Thanks :confused:
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    If you are going to split one or more of your better hives anyway, I would just check the queenless half or halves 7 days after splitting, find capped queen cells, and requeen the weak hives with cells rather than queens.
     

  3. rast

    rast New Member

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    I feel that the key words in Iddee's reply is "better hives". It has worked for over a 100 years for beekeepers. Depending on the drone source, it maintains genetics similar to the donor hive.
    If you are puchasing mated queens, I think you get the best ones from a breeder that lets them go through a 20+ day laying cycle and culls the ones that don't lay a decent pattern before caging. Economics of the business does not usually allow that for the larger breeders.
    Sometimes a sorry hive will do it for you. I have two that superseded their queens sometime since Dec. and are thriving. They were on my list to requeen this spring.
    I can requeen any time of the year that its necessary. I prefer to replace a weak queen late summer/early fall, after treating for mites.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    locating the old queen is the most difficult part of the task. you can save yourself a lot of head scratching by using queen excluder to limit the search area. when you are searching for an old queen is exactly the time when you will ask yourself why you didn't pay that extra buck and have the old girl marked.

    what Rast is telling you is absolutely correct. the season plays more than a small hand in this... which is to say early on queen producers are motivated to ship queens when they have laid very little.. a bit later in the season when the 'the seasonally affected disorder' is no longer a malady of every beekeeper from maine to miami these new queens have likely laid a much larger patch in their mating box.

    splitting is (or can be) a very good means of limiting swarming. the year of my largest expansion I actively encouraged the swarming urge by limiting a hives space and feeding heavily. you do have to watch these hives quite closely and at the first signs of swarming (bearding) split ruthlessly.
     
  5. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Well I split a big hive last year and pulled out 4 - 5 frames and put a new queen in them and that worked fine. But I also checked the original hive a few days later and found swarm cells and put them in a nuc box and it did ok too. But that hive swarmed on me anyway and I caught it, and it swarmed on me again within a week! and they were too high in a tree for me to capture. That was my post last spring "Outsmarting a swarm" .

    I have two that are huge now and I know I am going to have to split them. I was thinking about requeening that hive that swarmed?? Now I don't know what to do. I am just afraid of swarming and not catching them.

    I have not reversed my hive bodies yet because we have had such COLD weather here this spring, and the spring is really late. We are just now getting flowers and the bees are really bringing in pollen. Today is cold and tomorrow is suppose to "snow" (it was 70 degrees yesterday). I read in my notes from last year and it read to not reverse till the honey flow is going a bit and the temps stay warmer??? I know my hives are really busy and they are taking in the 1:1 pretty strong.

    I like the idea of a hive raising their own queen and letting nature take over and run things - I just don't want to lose my bees?
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    What you read about reversing is correct if there is brood in both boxes. If there is no brood in the bottom box, you can reverse any time.