Requeening many hives?
A new commercial beekeeper told me that in the requeening process he doesn’t remove the old queen, not speaking about leaving the hive queenless for some time, just introduces the new caged queen in the hive. When the new, young queen is released, the bees will choose the best one, in other words the young queen and the old will be killed.
Have any of you used this requeening method, any results? I am talking about requeening hundreds of hives.
I've not done it myself, but heard others will introduce virgin queens or ready to hatch queen cells into the top hive box. The virgin will end up being the queen that takes over the hive. Perhaps the same is true introducing laying queens as well. I know in my experience of joining hives, the queen in the top box after the join is the queen that most usually wins the hive.
We requeen every autumn with queen cells. Put a protector around the cell so it comes a few mm past the bottom of the cell. I think you can buy ready made cell protectors, but we use 18mm diameter alkythene pipe-- the black plastic stuff for doing irrigation lines. Chop a roll into ~40mm lengths and they cost a few cents each.
Just tuck the protected cell between 2 frames a day or 2 before she's due to emerge. The virgin doesn't always win the battle (I would guess about 80% do). If the established queen wins, good on her, she gets to go another season. 3-4 weeks after introducing cells is best time to check. Ample time for the virgin to mate and lay enough brood that its easy to find some, and if not the failures won't have gone backwards so much that they can't be easily salvaged. There's always a few hives where the virgin doesn't get mated or both virgin and queen get damaged in the fight which are then patched with mated queens. Much cheaper to requeen with 100 cells and patch failures with 10 mated queens than to requeen with 100 mated queens and still have to patch a handful of hives that rejected new queens. Doing this in the autumn also gives a break in the brood cycle which helps drop the mite load.