Moving a queen to an observation hive
I have plans to re-queen my lone backyard hive with a northern bred queen around the first of June. My plan for the "old" queen that came with a package this spring is to start an observation hive using a nuc-style observation hive like the one Brushy Mtn sells. The plan is for it to reside in my backyard also. I have read up on the re-queening process and I am comfortable with the removal of the old queen and introduction of the new but those methods assume a queenless hive or one that will be "offed" once she is successfully replaced.
I am looking for advice on how to conduct the queen removal/relocation and replacement with these fairly unique plans in mind. Is it as simple as taking the old queen with a couple frames worth of bees and brood and putting them in a prepared nuc box and properly introducing the new queen to the big hive. How far away will the nuc have to be from the big hive? Will bees placed in the nuc want to return to their old home? Will bees from the big hive smell their old queen and try to join her in the nuc hive?
We should have a very good flow going here by the first of June if that has any bearing.
You could move the whole hive to the spot where the entrance to the OB hive is. Leave it long enough to get established there. Then when the time comes, move the queen and a frame of brood to the OB hive and take the main hive away. The workers will return to the OB hive entrance and smell the queen and should stay. The new queen can be introduced to the remaining hive at another location, and will only have nurse bees to deal with.
Most OB hives need protection from sun and cold weather. Sun on the glass is called a wax melter. Cold because they don't have enough mass to stay warm without help. Most OB hive reside indoors. I'm not familiar with the particular one you reference.
Wanted to give this a bump and see if there are other suggestions. Is my plan even a good idea or is it difficult to re-queen and try to give the old queen a new assignment in the same yard? The northern bred queen is from survivor stock that has been untreated for 10 years. That is why I want her in my main honey producing hive instead of doing the easier thing and putting the new queen in the observation hive.
For those not familiar with the Ulster observation hive... I am going to build my own but here is the link to the one Brushy sells. http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com...sp?number=U501 It's just a 5-frame nuc that you can attach a top to for viewing a single frame. The idea is to search out the frame with the queen on it and place it in the observation top. That frame is replaced in the nuc box with a frame feeder while the hive is closed up and transported somewhere to be displayed. There is a queen excluder between the box and the top. While the nuc is in the bee yard the observation top can be removed and replaced with a cover. There are also thin plywood covers to put over the windows if the hive is outside with the observation top in place.
I mostly agree with Ross. The only possible problem there is the movement of the existing hive to the new location (where the OB hive will go). If you move them too far, some will get lost.
I find it easier to move them for a few days to another apiary (a few miles at least) away.
Do you have that opportunity? Is there a place you can keep them for a week or so?
If so, I'd take the existing hive to the other yard a few days before the arrival of the new queen.
Once she arrives, go out there and put the existing queen and a couple frames of sealed brood and some honey and pollen and half the bees in your new Ulster OB hive and take them home.
Put the new Queen in the existing hive.
A week later, you can move the old hive back to your yard. Same or new position, whatever you want, and all will be well. The new queen will have been accepted by then.
Ross's method has the advantage of separating the younger Nurse bees from the older foragers. Nurse bees will accept the new queen more readily.
Moving short distances is not much problem if you use the leafy branch method Michael Bush describes on his website. I was assuming the OB hive was in a fixed location like a house, hence the need to orient the bees to the new location.
Thanks for the suggestions. I will look up the leafy branch method on MB's site. Been there many times and always come away with useful info.