View Full Version : Queen question
I have a 2 story hive that I need to re-queen(spotty brood pattern). Most queen breeders in this area won't have queens until April but Kona Queens in Hawaii is shipping now. My question is should I get one from Kona and get a jump on things or wait till local queens are ready? We COULD still have some cold weather in Feb!
Thanks for any help.
01-29-2006, 06:23 PM
Lot easier to introduce a new queen with a honeyflow on. Your a bit south, so if you have a flow coming you could introduce a new queen anytime it starts. I've never tried introducing one when the weather was cool, unless it was a package.
01-29-2006, 06:38 PM
Last I heard Kona was book up through June. Better email them before you send any money.
Kona only ships to established customers until after the spring rush. Same with Hawaiin Queen.
I got an email today from them that said they still had the first 2 weeks of Feb. open and since I just needed one they could try to work me in as long as I gave them around 10 days notice.
But several people have brought up it being easier during a flow so I guess I'll wait. I guess I'm just anxious about getting this hive back where it should be.
Thanks for the help!
01-29-2006, 07:49 PM
If you decide to try now (and personally I would) get a push in cage from better bee and put the queen in a 5 frame nuc first. Then you will have her well introduced, then pinch off your old queen and combine the hives. You should be ok even though not in a flow yet. And you will hit the ground running when the flow kicks in. I intro'd my kona queen this way successfully even though no flow.
02-02-2006, 04:02 AM
When was the "spotty brood pattern"? I don't know about So. Car. But I would not requeen for a pattern in Jan. Of course I'm in Colorado.
02-02-2006, 04:13 AM
At this time of the year, could there be other reasons for spotty brood patterns, other than a bad queen?
I got both hives in late oct and both were about the same in population. This hive has decreased in population since then while my other hive is increasing. Both have recieved the same treatment(Apilife,syrup,pollen etc). Strong hive has 1 frame of brood, weak hive has very little.
These are my first hives so if anyone with more experience has any suggestions please pass them on.
02-02-2006, 06:55 AM
>At this time of the year, could there be other reasons for spotty brood patterns, other than a bad queen?
I agree. I wouldn't expect much brood this time of year. They often raise a batch and then stop for a while so there are a few that haven't emerged yet but not much else. But then I'm not in SC.
02-02-2006, 07:02 AM
What I would do and really do all the time is feed the bees 1 to 1 sugar syrup while introducing a new queen. She should be confined in a push in cage over some open cells that also have sealed brood that is just emerging. See Glenn Apiaries WEBB page
By feeding them one to one sugar you create an artificial honey flow and the queen will be accepted better, and here is a thought I would split the hive into two hives with a new queen in each. This really will give you a better feel on how a hive is doing by comparing them.
Hope this helps and Good luck.
Thanks, I've been feeding 1:1 and pollen patties to try and stimulate brood rearing. But like Michael suggested it may be too early to be judging her by brood pattern. Decisions,decisions!!
02-02-2006, 07:57 AM
ppg, it may very well be the queen. Having another hive to compare against is always helpful. Also keep in mind that not all hives will be on the same level. My comment is nothing more than to promote thought, and different ideas. At the end of the day it could very well be a queen problem.
Some queens, after going a period of time not laying, will have a temporary shotty pattern.
Sometimes the changing weather, along with poorly placed nectar recently brought into the hive will cause a poor pattern. Sometimes there are so many things going on in the spring that effects the hive, that optimal egg laying just does not happen. Sometimes they just don't have a good "clean" area for laying eggs, and this just causes patterns not usually seen.
Are there enough bees in this dwindling hive to raise brood with the cold nights?
Are the cells not being layed in, clean, or plugged with left-over pollen? With dwindling bee numbers, sometimes house cleaning and other chores do not get done. Is she up against other factors that are not the queens fault? Sometimes where the bees end up, after the winter, is just not a good place with good comb and clean comb. Are the bees to one side where pollen or honey could be keeping her from a good pattern?
Sometimes things just work out if you let them. Seems I heard that somewhere. I would wait a week, and from everything you said, I would not wait too long to requeen. I would just eliminate everything else first before requeening.
02-02-2006, 08:18 AM
>But like Michael suggested
Actually Bjorn suggested it and I just agreed. smile.gif
I really appreciate all ya'lls insight and sorry about the miss quote. I joined a local bee club and we have our meeting on monday so I'll ask some guys there about local conditions that may be affecting her.
02-03-2006, 01:07 PM
Sounds to me like they are both weak. Are you sure that you have a laying queen in the weaker of the two? You may not have a queen in the weaker colony. You mentioned the strong one has one frame of brood. Covering how much of how many sides?
You may want to consider combining these two. Then in a month and a half you might have enough to split, to make two again. If you combine and let them grow until April, you'll have a strong colony that you can split using your queen of choice. Or you could split the colony and let it raise it's own queen. That's what I do in SC in Mid-March.
I stay near the Conway, SC area. Where in SC is the Midlands? Maybe we could get together?
What about the person who you bought the bees from? Have you talked to that person, about your situation?
Another thing that comes to mind, especially with a new beekeeper who bought two colonies in October that are both weak sounding to me, is disease.
Do you have a knowledgable person who can look at these colonies? If not, I have Fred Singleton's contact info. He's the State Apiary Inspector. If he can't look things over with you, he should be able to advise you as to someone who could look at your bees and equipment with you.
02-03-2006, 08:21 PM
Spotty brood can also be a sign of the queen being inbred or the over/wrong use of chemicals by the breeder or the queen could be just poorly bred.Are you seeing alot of drone brood? that could mean her sperm supply is getting low.Just a few other things to consider.
sqkcrk, if you could send me Fred Singleton's info I'd appreceite it. I looked in my strong hive yesterday and there was a big increase in brood so I hope that one is okay. My weak hive has been taking in a good amount of pollen and some 1:1 syrup. I've ordered 2 queens but they won't arrive til April 1-2. I figure I'll keep feeding them syrup so hopefully they can make it to spring.
I live in Blythewood just north of Columbia.
02-04-2006, 03:02 PM
Fred Singleton's work number is 843-821-3234. Tell him I said Hi.
A queenless colony can be a very good ggatherer of pollen. I hope this is not the case.
But, if you have been seeing lots of pollen and not any brood, I'd look close to see if I could see eggs. To me seeing eggs or young larvae is more important than seeing the queen herself.
Finding a queen can be alot of work. Mostly you want to see that the queen is doing a good job. If she is, she is there and what she looks like is of minor concern, compared to quality of production and letting her get back to work.