I read people's beekeeping stories. I like to hear people's experiences throughout the years. One thing that pricks my ear though is how people talk of requeening. I have kept my bees without treatments of any kind for eight years. From the onset, I was intent on developing a diverse gene pool of bees that would produce well and be disease resistant. Then I read stories of people keeping bees for so and so years and such and such a hive they have owned for so long, but the queen gets replaced every year.
In my perhaps more natural understanding of a beehive, when you replace the queen, it's not the same hive anymore. It's a different hive. These bees are not related to the previous bees, they're just living in the same house. Am I right?
The idea of simply replacing one of my queens or even a bunch of them every year seems distasteful to me as a matter of practice. I do purchase queens to head up splits, because like I mentioned, I want to be genetically diverse and want to add new blood to the group. But as far as replacing a poorly performing queen, I'd rather pinch her and let them start over. This queen may not be performing well, but her line has stuck around this long, and maybe there's something one of her daughters can offer.
I've had one hive now for eight years which has not been intentionally requeened ever. They are not the best producers, but they do produce every year. Considering that they are one of twenty original packages of non disease resistant stock originating over 2000 miles away, I think they have something to offer.
What are your thoughts?