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  1. #1
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    Feb 2008
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    Default Queen cell placement for requeening

    I have a few question,

    1) Can you place queen cells right in the middle of the brood nest of a strong colony if you use a protector to achieve queen replacement?
    2) One respected beekeeper told me that this could lead to swarming - Would it lead to swarming or target the supersedure impulse?
    3) I know commercial guys that requeen with cells every year in the honey supers but of course this wouldn't be a good replacement strategy if you use excluders. Also, to insure enough bees are in the super would likely mean it is later in the season than might be optimal for requeening. For those of you that use cells to requeen, what are your methods?

  2. #2
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    Aug 2002
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    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    I don't use the protector, although I have tried it with and without. But if it's strong enough you can just put it in the super and not have to move so many boxes.

    I do not believe that queens cells lead to swarming nor do I believe the lack of them will guarantee they won't swarm. Swarming is an impulse driven by many things and you are not creating that situation merely by putting in a queen cell. IMO it is perceived by the bees as a supersedure.

    >but of course this wouldn't be a good replacement strategy if you use excluders

    True. Another good reason to get rid of the excluders.

    I just put them in the super on a strong hive. Basically I dig down until I find enough bees that I'm convinced they will keep the cell warm and cared for. If that is the brood nest, then so be it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    One thing to consider is honey flow. Requeening a queenright colony with cells must be done on a flow, or the results will be poor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Whatcom, Washington, USA
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    146

    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    >I just put them in the super on a strong hive. Basically I dig down until I find enough bees that I'm convinced they will keep the cell warm and cared for. If that is the brood nest, then so be it. <

    Hello Michael,

    I take it that this is done with the old queen still in the hive. How much chance is there that the old queen will kill this un-hatched queen cell, especially if it's close to the brood nest?
    And then knowing if the old queen was superseded could be tricky too if they are not marked, I would think, right?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    Mated/laying queens rarely bother queen cells, it's the virgin queens that are queen killing machines - including cells, all shapes, ages, and etc. If the workers are entirely satisfied with their present queen, sometimes they will tear down unwanted cells.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Reno, NV USA
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    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    1) Will workers destroy a queen cell through a protector?
    2) Regarding a flow - can you simply add cells the same time you add feed?
    3) Aside from the flow issue - are there any differences between adding cells in the spring v.s. summer v.s. fall?
    4) A commercial beekeeper told me that a bad year and you get 50% of the queens emerging and getting back to the correct hive and a good year is more like 70%. Do you guys agree?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    2,297

    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    1) workers can't get to the cells in a protector, so no. However, I've placed cells by attaching them to a comb without the protector and they don't tear those down either.
    2) yes.
    3) no
    4) no. I don't have exact figures but I'm guessing we get a 80-90% take on requeening and at least 95% on new splits. At most, 1 or 2 out of a batch of 40-48 will fail to emerge. The bees only cap live larva and they rarely die after capping. If you're requeening with cells you're probably raising them yourself so a failed cell only costs a little time to get another one in the hive. Even if you're buying cells, they run $2-3.00 around here so it's far cheaper to requeen with cells. $3.00 versus $20-30.00 for a mated queen is a huge difference that can be used to buy other "stuff."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    fish_stix

    I've hear from a commercial beekeeper near by that we have a lot of Bee Martins and our numbers are eaten away by these birds. He may be right because I have seen many of these birds in our area.

    I've just grafted 60 cups with 50 being accepted (fed RJ). If adding a ton of feed to the finisher (including fresh pollen) fixes my late season queen rearing problems, I will add cells to colonies and see if they are accepted. I've got quite a variety of colonies and might learn something by testing for acceptance under different conditions.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    >I take it that this is done with the old queen still in the hive.

    Yes.

    > How much chance is there that the old queen will kill this unhatched queen cell, especially if it's close to the brood nest?

    Judging by my success rate, low.

    >And then knowing if the old queen was superseded could be tricky too if they are not marked, I would think, right?

    If it's a production hive, I don't care. I gave them a shot a younger queen, and odds are if they need one they will get one.

    >1) Will workers destroy a queen cell through a protector?

    No. But if they reject her they will kill her when she comes out.

    >2) Regarding a flow - can you simply add cells the same time you add feed?

    That will probably help. Feeding or a flow both seem to help.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbetterq...20Down%20Cells

    >4) A commercial beekeeper told me that a bad year and you get 50% of the queens emerging and getting back to the correct hive and a good year is more like 70%. Do you guys agree?

    I varies too much for generalizations. I've had some yard where there were a lot of dragon flies about and it was very how, probably less than 25%. I've had yards where it was closer to 90%. In a dearth it always drops off.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    Quote Originally Posted by HVH View Post

    4) A commercial beekeeper told me that a bad year and you get 50% of the queens emerging and getting back to the correct hive and a good year is more like 70%. Do you guys agree?
    I would say that over-all, a 75% take is about average. I have some 500 mating nucs producing 3 queens each per season. I do get some high 80% takes and some low 60%. Over-all it's 75%.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2006
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    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    When a management scheme works, I ask myself why. Look at what the bees do...

    Have you ever taken apart a colony on a honey flow and noticed a couple cells hanging from a bottom bar in the supers? I have many times. At first, I though they were preparing for swarming and cut the cells and examined the entire colony for additional cells. Usually, none were found. I eventually realized that these were supercedure cells and swarming wasn't an issue.

    Adding queen cells to a super on a flow is only imitating what the bees do anyway.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Queen cell placement for requeening

    Good info Michael and Michael. I get the impression from guys I have talked to and the posts here that adding queen cells during an early flow is a cheaper and more efficient way to requeen than buying commercially mated queens that can ruin you in one season if they are all crap. I suffered huge losses this year from last years queens failing. I look back and it seems to all make sense. Last year I didn't get any honey and the colonies barely built out enough for winter. In fact, about 60% starved out because they didn't build up. Those same queens that did survive went into almonds and came out strong only to start running out of bullets in the late spring early summer. I had about 50% or better take on my queen cells and those colonies seemed to have to start from square one. As alpha-6 mentioned on another thread, he had the same experience with the same breeder last year and there were some serious issues. So it all began with lousy queens and ended with failing queens. This is why I need to move my bees into a late nectar flow like eucalyptus. Many of my nucs are only three frames strong and definitely won't survive here in Reno, Nevada. I know they won't build up in California either to 7 plus frames for almonds, but if I can keep them alive, they would be good production colonies for next year.

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