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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    47

    Default Requeen or allow the bees to take care of things (newbie here).

    This is my first year beekeeping in Pittsburgh, PA. I have two hives from new nucs installed 3 weeks ago - one doing well, the other doing... not quite as well. I'm new at this but my eyes aren't young so when I've inspected at 1 week and at 2, I looked for eggs in both, but could only see larvae and capped brood. No biggie, but in the weaker hive, I just see very little of both. In the stronger hive - noticably more.

    On my second inspection (at week 2 after install; a week ago) - the stronger hive had filled out most of the 5 additional frames I'd put in (the original nucs had five frames) - and I had to super up. The weaker hive hadn't done much at all on the 5 new frames.

    A couple questions:

    1. In PA - we've had so much rain - almost constant - this past week was the first nice one (meaning much sun). Will queens slow down when there isn't available time to forage or pollen? This question basically - maybe cut her a little slack?

    2. If I decided that the queen in the weaker hive isn't doing well - and this is the heart of my question - should I just let the colony decide this and raise their own if needed? Again, I do see a few larve (like plump little c's) - so it's not like they are queenless - or I'd take a frame from the stronger hive and add to provide them with eggs to make a new queen cell - but the "fixer" in my thinks, "Screw it, just hunt her down, whack her, and requeen." But others I've spoken to insist that if she's not doing well, the colony will replace her.

    3. If I go with "let them have at it" - when a new queen cell(s) is made - I don't understand how supercedure works - meaning - wouldn't the existing queen just kill the new one? or do the bees keep her from doing so or escort her out (like a poor winter drone?).

    Any thoughts appreciated. I didn't go out this weekend - thinking it's been so nice I'll give both hives two full weeks of uninterrupted living - then check on them again next Saturday. If I open the weaker hive and still no gains - I'm going to get worried.

    jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Requeen or allow the bees to take care of things (newbie here).

    If she is not doing any better you may want to replace her. The bees could wait a month or two before they give up on her. The by the time they raise a Q or you buy one they will not have the time to build up for winter.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,121

    Default Re: Requeen or allow the bees to take care of things (newbie here).

    >1. In PA - we've had so much rain - almost constant - this past week was the first nice one (meaning much sun). Will queens slow down when there isn't available time to forage or pollen? This question basically - maybe cut her a little slack?

    If there is no pollen coming in they may quit rearing brood.

    >2. If I decided that the queen in the weaker hive isn't doing well - and this is the heart of my question - should I just let the colony decide this and raise their own if needed?

    You could encourage them if you like. Tear down the cell walls on some just hatched larvae (the right age larvae will be invisible, just an imperfection on the surface of a tiny puddle of clear liquid).

    > Again, I do see a few larve (like plump little c's) - so it's not like they are queenless -

    If you only see a few, they MAY be queenless. This is the first evidence of a possible laying worker. Very spotty brood, a few capped drone cells and no pattern of brood at all, and almost no eggs because the egg police are cleaning them up fast enough (because you don't have THAT many laying workers yet).

    > or I'd take a frame from the stronger hive and add to provide them with eggs to make a new queen cell - but the "fixer" in my thinks, "Screw it, just hunt her down, whack her, and requeen."

    That assumes, 1) that there is a queen, 2) that you can find that queen, 3) that you can find a queen to buy, 4) that they won't reject the queen you buy.

    >But others I've spoken to insist that if she's not doing well, the colony will replace her.

    Maybe. My guess is she's gone and in another week or two you'll start seeing more evidence of laying workers (doubles and triples and eggs on the sides of cells and eggs on pollen).

    >3. If I go with "let them have at it" - when a new queen cell(s) is made - I don't understand how supercedure works - meaning - wouldn't the existing queen just kill the new one?

    Laying queens do not have murder on their mind. They just lay eggs. They don't fight, they don't look for rivals.

    > or do the bees keep her from doing so or escort her out (like a poor winter drone?).

    They just quit feeding her.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespanacea.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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