What's with the queens!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by crazy8days, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. crazy8days

    crazy8days New Member

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    I've had such bad luck this year for keeping queens! To keep a long story short I bought 5 packages of bees, 3 queens (1 recent) and 2 queen cells from Purdue University . Caught 1 swarm and had 1 make it through the winter. I've lost 5-6 queens. The recent one is up and running. 1 Purdue queen doing well. 2 queens from the packages are doing ok. wintered hive queen doing good but made a split due to swarm cells. tonight I checked a few hives. Been a while since I checked the swarm. with my troubles I just left things alone for a bit. got in there and found capped and open brood but no eggs. Supercedure cells everywhere. What the heck! Again? I'm very careful when going through a hive. When I find the queen I gently put it in and usually end my inspection. This one hive still might have the queen but maybe something happened? I have opened and closed super cells. I'm just going to let them do their thing and hope for the best. It's a good thing I love bees.
     
  2. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

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    I'm now in my 2nd year , so still a yung-un. BUT, I as well as my neighbor have been having a heck of a time all year with queens. It's like you see her in there
    and things seem fine. couple weeks later no sign of a queen. I shook out 2 hives yesterday that had laying workers in them. Found a hive today in an out yard that had a laying queen in it 2 weeks ago. Today, nothing, no eggs, no open larva and no emergency cells.

    Have had 2 in mating nucs not make it back.
     

  3. crazy8days

    crazy8days New Member

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    Man, I hope this isn't the start of something else!:eek::beg:
     
  4. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    We have had a bit of trouble with "bought" queens this year as well but everyone that was made in our bee yard this year has done well. I have heard this complaint from some other beeks around here. Not sure what's going on.
     
  5. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Lots of folks in our club have lost queens this year. . .over winter, in the spring, and even new queens bought this spring. Including me. I lost 2 queens over winter, then one of my two splits from other hives failed to produce a queen and a hive I requeened with a purchased queen also lost that queen! I've been doing this now for 13 years and I've only had to requeen twice in the 12 years preceding this one. . .my girls always took care of themselves. I, too, am puzzled by what's going on. I've made inquiries to various sources but no answer has been forthcoming. Seems to me it must be another aspect of all the other problems we've been having.
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    My experience this year was lousy in respect to the offshore queens I purchased. From outright rejection to early supercedure, it has me wondering about making those early nucs folks all want. Too much of a $$ hit for me when they don't pan out.
     
  7. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    You have a 4 to 5 day window to get a queen mated successfully yes it can be longer but the risks of early queen failure and supersedure is greater also. The weather in a lot of areas has not been the best for the queen mating successfully. Queens, nucs and packages were late because of queen supply problems. Queens that did mate and were shipped where most likely effected in quality by the weather conditions that caused so many of the queen to be rejected when raised.
    Perry
    In the Okanagan nuc producers are supplying a stronger nuc a little later in the season so local queens can be raised to head the nucs. The beekeeper will graph and raise cells and when they are ready to be placed in hives or nucs for mating, the beekeeper will pull the nuc out of his hive along with the overwintered queen and sell it. Then place a cell to re-queen the colony. On strong colonies extra nucs can be pulled to raise extra queens to replace any that do not make it to laying in the colony. Or can be sold later.
     
  8. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I have had a ton of queen problems this year also. What it has given me is a mountain of opportunity to observe the acceptance. replacement etc of queens. TI sems I introduce a quen to a new colony and as soon as she is mated an layign . the bees are makign quen cells to replace her. the overall impression to me is that without the presence of brood. the bees are determined to make a new queen. and having a brand new queen does not change their mind on that. It might take a succesion of two or more queens to actualy get enough brood going in a colony to prevent them from making more cells. I have had queens acepted by broodless coloies on the first attempt. but those where very heavy laying queens. Filling full frames in a matter of a day or so. I simply se that presence of brood has more to do with replacement of queens than anything. place a small amount of brood in the upper part of a queen right colony and the bees will make cells on that frame for example. The only reason I think bees do not make queens outside the brood nest constantly is that they do not have brood to start them with. I have one full size hive right now that we attempted to requeen. we are seeing this same replacement immediatley behavior out of them. I am now goign to attempt to introduce a new queen to them along with 3 frames of brood. I will see if adding brood along with the queen prevents them form replacing her instantly.

    For me overall it has been like hives cannot be requeened though. They will just start endlessly superseding.
     
  9. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Apis, I hear you loud and clear. I have just sold off the last couple of nucs. These last few have been going with 5 frames of comb, and usually 3 frames covered in brood because of the time of year.
    While not always wishing to discuss profit here, the $30 price tag for queens that don't pan out with much regularity :sad:, is causing me to wonder about offering a superior product a little later in the year instead.
    I also just discovered :oops: that I have been selling my nucs at the bottom of the price bracket :shock:. It was recommended to me that for the quality of my nucs I should be selling higher than I do. Sigh, next year. :lol:
     
  10. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    For the past several years i've had trouble with bought queens? It's got to the point that if i purchase 15 queens i expect to have 2 to 4 duds:shock:. With the surge in people getting into beekeeping and the demand for queens i'm thinking that when breeders find brood in there mating nucs, that queen is shipped before she proves her self, and i can understand that because of there work load.When mass producing anything your going to have flaws, but it can be costly to the buyer.:roll: Most queen producers that i have dealt with, have been good to make good there product.They also have a problem because they don't know how the queen was handled buy the buyer.There seems to be something going on? i've got into some strong hives(in mid summer, like now) and find they have become queenless, and it seems to be happening more and more each year?:???: Jack
     
  11. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    2 to 4 duds out of 15 would be an improvement for me Jack. :???:
     
  12. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

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    I had both queens superseded in the original 2 packages I started with in 2011 and all 3 queens I purchased this spring were superseded . So, 100% so far. It's not a catastrophe for me but it sure slows things down.
     
  13. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I was being conservative, i've had at times lost much more. I'm starting to raise more of my own queens again from my mutts in 5 frame nucs (started 5 yesterday)they do alot better and don't get superseded.:thumbsup: I keep 4 to 5 nucs going in the summer in case i need a queen fast (there hard to find when you need one quick), but for some reason i've been loosing to many virgin queens to birds or what ever? I check the nucs, find the newly hatched queen that looks healthy, only to check back in 2 to 4 weeks to find them queenless?:???: I'm going to start 15 more nucs and leave them in 5 frame nucs with 5 frame supers on them this winter. I think riverrat use to do this and had good luck. Jack
     
  14. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I think that poor weather during queen mating would be a fairly direct negative effect on queens abilities but perhaps the poor weather also leads to holding back commencement of laying in the new hive. Wouldn't that lead to lower queen pheremone levels which in turn controls the workers reaction. The girls 'aint happy, 'aint nobody happy!

    On a whim I picked up some queen pheremone strips from Mann Lake. According to the literature having them in the hive contributes to improved queen acceptance and all other things good in beedom! I wonder if they really could have a measurable difference in outcomes when the weather is unfavorable.

    Pseudo Queen with QMP (Queen Mandibular Pheromone)

    Improve Queen Rearing Success - Pseudo Queen (simulates an egg laying queen) used in queen mating nuclei in early spring can maintain significantly higher bee numbers than in non-treated nucs. Insert one Pseudo Queen in each mating nuclei when it is established or when the queen cell is inserted.


    Ship Queenless Packages - Pseudo Queen calms bees shipped in queenless packages. Place Pseudo Queen lure in the hive as if it were a queen cage.

    Temporary Queen Replacement - A hive will perform normally for several days with a Pseudo Queen as a temporary queen. Remove the queen or queen cells and place a Pseudo Queen lure in each brood box. When a queen is available, the Pseudo Queen is removed and a new queen introduced.
     
  15. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    It reads like they are using them more for tricking the bees into thinking that they are not queen less so they stay with the newly made nuc or to keep the bees from getting into queen cell rearing mode while waiting for a queen of an introduced cell to emerge.
    Nothing can compensate for nice days for the queen to take her orientation flights and consecitive mating flights on more than one day. If I remember correctly drones even require warmer weather before the will take to flying.
    Out of the 30 days it takes foe a queen to be developed there are only 4 or 5 that are critical for good queen success. If those few days are cold, rainy, windy, cloudy and stormy, it doesn't matter how well everything else was done.
     
  16. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Is there a difference in the pheremone levels of an actively laying queen and one that is on hold because of temporary weather or nectar/pollen flows? There seemed to be some suggestion that queens that should be well bred are strangely being superceded this year. That period before a queen has developed her own strong pheremones.

    I had to laugh to see that the vehicle for the pheremones was a red ny wrap / ny tie strap! I wouldn't fault that though if they have a demonstrable function.
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a Crofter snip...
    I think that poor weather during queen mating would be a fairly direct negative effect on queens abilities but perhaps the poor weather also leads to holding back commencement of laying in the new hive. Wouldn't that lead to lower queen pheremone levels which in turn controls the workers reaction. The girls 'aint happy, 'aint nobody happy! a /c

    an ApisBee snip..
    Nothing can compensate for nice days for the queen to take her orientation flights and consecitive mating flights on more than one day.

    tecumseh...
    a lot of small things are ESSENTIAL to produce a quality queen. appropriate flying and mating weather is one item at the very end of the list but it is essential and it is outside the control of anyone rearing queens. bad queen mating conditions may include too cold, too hot and too windy.