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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Default Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    My current queen came with my 10 April package. I was told to requeen this year, but I'd like to see if she winters. In any event, I'd like to requeen in the spring,and I'd like to raise my own queen. I know that a split or nuc is how I will do it. Would you please see if these steps seem correct:

    At a time as yet undetermined, but in the spring, split the hive. moving the queen with the split and leaving the original hive to requeen itself.
    Remove the old queen from the nuc and introduce the inhabitants to the original hive.

    Does this sound correct? what would you consided the appropriate time to do the split? What should I look for? - Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    What is the goal of re-queening for you?

    I know there's ton's of "advice" given out to re-queen every so often, but before I go sticking my foot in my mouth I want to make sure I'm not missing a logical reason

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    2,294

    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    Why would you re-queen a new package you started in April? (I'm assuming April of this year).
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Charlotte, NC
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    41

    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    Let it ride... unless she's failing, can't think of any good reason you should re-queen. I had a new hive of package bees supersede the queen just a few weeks ago. Seems to me, they will take care of things as they see fit. Luke... feel the force.... :-)
    Last edited by WXBEE; 06-21-2012 at 03:33 PM.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    Quote Originally Posted by robherc View Post
    What is the goal of re-queening for you?

    I know there's ton's of "advice" given out to re-queen every so often, but before I go sticking my foot in my mouth I want to make sure I'm not missing a logical reason
    Reading up, the queen uses her pheromones to hold the hive together. Weak pheromones apparently indicate a failing queen and time to swarm (yes, crowding in the brood chamber is also a factor), so i'm thinking before she starts going downhill I should call in a replacement. Wrong? - Mike

  6. #6
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    Feb 2012
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    If you haven't, it might be worth a read. I guess that a lot of the re-queening philosophies boil down to what your philosophy is towards beekeeping. Might want to take some time and read through Michael Bushe's web site... very informative... and food for thought..

    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
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    241

    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    Does the hive have a "hot" temperament? Is/was the honey production poor or good? I see you're in VA so AHB and re-queening isn't an issue. What is the current brood pattern like? I have heard and read that re-queening in fall for next year is a good practice, second year queens are supposed to be better (heard Mike Palmer quoting from Brother Adam, and reason Palmer likes to overwinter nucs), but if she's not failing and there's no current queen cells being produced and everything else looks good, why re-queen?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Falls Church, VA
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    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    Quote Originally Posted by Nature Coast beek View Post
    Does the hive have a "hot" temperament? Is/was the honey production poor or good? I see you're in VA so AHB and re-queening isn't an issue. What is the current brood pattern like? I have heard and read that re-queening in fall for next year is a good practice, second year queens are supposed to be better (heard Mike Palmer quoting from Brother Adam, and reason Palmer likes to overwinter nucs), but if she's not failing and there's no current queen cells being produced and everything else looks good, why re-queen?
    Ok...sold

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    Quote Originally Posted by mhorowit View Post
    Weak pheromones apparently indicate a failing queen and time to swarm ...
    Interesting line of reasoning there, but I don't think it's very accurate. From all that I've studied I haven't once seen that perspective on swarming offered, out of many, MANY theories; where'd you find that bit?

    My understanding of swarming (from a few dozen hours of research on that particular topic) is that there are 2 kinds of swarming:
    Kind one is "reproductive" swarming, where a hive pulls through the winter nice & strong, so they start things in motion to send out a swarm in the spring...rather than being from any sign of weakness/weak pheromones, this type is due to a strong, healthy hive reproducing through swarming, because that's what healthy organisms (or colonies) do.
    Kind two is "overcrowding" swarming where the colony outgrows its current hive, fills in too much of the brood area with honey, then the queen & a large portion of the adult bees take off to start again elsewhere. Once again, not a sign of a weak queen at all, but rather of one who's strong enough to grow the colony too large for their hive.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2011
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    Falls Church, VA
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    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    Quote Originally Posted by robherc View Post
    Interesting line of reasoning there, but I don't think it's very accurate. From all that I've studied I haven't once seen that perspective on swarming offered, out of many, MANY theories; where'd you find that bit?

    My understanding of swarming (from a few dozen hours of research on that particular topic) is that there are 2 kinds of swarming:
    Kind one is "reproductive" swarming, where a hive pulls through the winter nice & strong, so they start things in motion to send out a swarm in the spring...rather than being from any sign of weakness/weak pheromones, this type is due to a strong, healthy hive reproducing through swarming, because that's what healthy organisms (or colonies) do.
    Kind two is "overcrowding" swarming where the colony outgrows its current hive, fills in too much of the brood area with honey, then the queen & a large portion of the adult bees take off to start again elsewhere. Once again, not a sign of a weak queen at all, but rather of one who's strong enough to grow the colony too large for their hive.
    This is from George Imirie's Pink Pages:A Major Reason for Requeening
    You should know that I requeen every colony every year in order to MINIMIZE SWARMING. However, I refuse to requeen in the spring because I don't want anything to "screw up" my honey production. I much prefer requeening in late August (before Labor day), so that young queen lays a bunch of new bees for the winter bees that makes a bigger cluster which enables the bees to keep a larger brood area open for queen laying in January and February. I think you should consider this, and there is an old PINK PAGE that totally describes my "ALMOST FOOLPROOF REQUEENING METHOD". Just in case you have forgotten, all queens emit a pheromone that inhibits the worker bees from building queen cells, and the ability of the queen to make this pheromone REDUCES a little bit every day of her life. Hence, a 13 month old queen is 3 times more likely to swarm than a 1 month old queen; and the probability of a 25 month old queen swarming is almost astronomical. A new queen only costs about $10-$15, and you lose your honey crop if bees swarm. Losing a 50-100 pound honey crop that you can sell for $3.50/lb. which is $175-$350 because you wouldn't spend $10-$15 for a new queen doesn't make good sense. If you want a copy of Imirie's Almost Foolproof Requeening Method, e-mail or telephone me for a copy.

    He did a vast amount of writing which I'm plowing thru. To see his work, go to WWW.beekeepersnova.org, go to the FAQ section and choose "FAQ: George Imirie's Pink Pages" - Mike

  11. #11
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    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    Quote Originally Posted by mhorowit View Post
    This is from George Imirie's Pink Pages:A Major Reason for Requeening
    Interesting, I've never seen his name before in any of my research, or on BeeSource ... so it'll take me a few days to plough through some of his "pages" before I can say much about his reliability as an information source (can't honestly comment on someone's reliability if you haven't read their work lol).

    ... all queens emit a pheromone that inhibits the worker bees from building queen cells, and the ability of the queen to make this pheromone REDUCES a little bit every day of her life.
    This would be the "footstep pheromone" that inhibits raising of E-cells primarily, though it may have an impact on SS cells as well, I'm not sure there. This is why the breeding cup plates that are used by queen breeders who do not graft have the queen "walking" on a separate piece of plastic all the time, and never "stepping" inside the cell cups...to avoid contact with this pheromone on the Q cell cups. This is also a large contributor to the necessity of grafting for efficient queen rearing when not using the special frames. As far as swarm prevention goes, however, it's my opinion that "footstep pheromone" has little, if anything, to do with swarm production, as swarming is the goal of every hive (not the beek's goal, the bees' goal)...so a healthy, young queen is NOT likely to produce anything that impairs the hive's goals; it just doesn't make sense in a biological/"survival of the fittest" sense.

    Hence, a 13 month old queen is 3 times more likely to swarm than a 1 month old queen; and the probability of a 25 month old queen swarming is almost astronomical. A new queen only costs about $10-$15, and you lose your honey crop if bees swarm. Losing a 50-100 pound honey crop that you can sell for $3.50/lb. which is $175-$350 because you wouldn't spend $10-$15 for a new queen doesn't make good sense.
    I could dig up tons of threads started by guys who over-fed their package bees & didn't do enough work to maintain the brood area in their hives, and had their hives swarm with queens that were only a few months old, which causes me to seriously doubt this theory.
    That said, I've heard a LOT of different versions of the "new queens don't (or are less likely to) swarm" theory tossed about. This sounds like one of them to me, and it sounds like he did (as I often do) try to reason well into his theory & what may cause it to work, but I haven't seen any experimental evidence that points towards newer queens swarming less often, assuming everything else in the hive remains unchanged.

    He did a vast amount of writing which I'm plowing thru. To see his work, go to WWW.beekeepersnova.org, go to the FAQ section and choose "FAQ: George Imirie's Pink Pages" - Mike
    I have that page open in another tab right now, and plan to read through at least the first few "pages" sometime in the next couple days...maybe it'll turn into another good researching source for me, as your quote above makes it look to me like this guy really liked thinking things through.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    As a Post Script:

    Having read through one of the above referenced documents, I do believe that Mr. Imirie is likely a very reliable source for beekeeping information. It does immediately strike me, however, that most of his information seems to be coming from the "commercial-interest" side of beekeeping, rather than hobbyist beekeeping. There is nothing at all wrong with that, but it does affect how us hobbyist beeks should approach his information.

    #1: I'm not saying his information is bad, unworkable, or wrong...although I do still wonder about the swarming vs. footstep pheromone link.

    #2: Commecial beekeeping and hobbyist beekeeping are as dissimilar as the boatshop down the road's boatbuilding, and my attempts at building a couple little dingy's for my personal use...they could easily use their equipment to turn out 500 of the little dingies I intend to make...but my trying to model my building techniques & equipment after theirs would cost me loads more money, and likely yield less success, than if I use the hobbyist tools I already have. I won't be building 499 more boats, and haven't the money, equipment, or manpower to do so, thus building forms, molds, patterns, etc. will simply be a waste of time & money for me.

    #3: Commercial beekeeping, as a rule, is an industry with FAR more money and resources to use for researching honey bee problems (like SHB, Wax Moths, Varoa Mites, etc), so most of the available research is done for/from a commercial perspective. The results of good experiments are reliable in all applications, that's part of the point of running experiments, so don't throw out the knowledge gained from them; just be aware that the "plan of action" developed for a commercial operation to utilize that information may not be the best approach for a hobbyist. Use the information, but be willing to adapt everything to your own situation...be your own scientist & you can make all that information into a great personal resource.

    #4: Commercial beekeepers have more time for bees in their day (i.e. they work for 8+ hrs per day with/on their bees), but they generally have less time PER HIVE to spend with their bees. Thus, like with the boats, there are things (like some chemical treatments, or requeening) that take some prep. work/time to set up, but that can be repeated many times without increasing the prep. time, so they'll save them some amount of time in their day, while the same approach will cost you time versus an approach that would be dismally inefficient for them, but may well work best for you (such as checkerboarding a brood nest...takes little more time than requeening for 1-2 hives...but could you imagine tearing apart and checkerboarding 400+ hives in a day).


    Sorry about getting up on my soap-box there, but I think the end result is that yes, he likely has+gives lots of valuable information, just be sure you take everything you read in the proper context

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,505

    Default Re: Thinking ahead to a new queen in the spring

    I used to have all my queens marked. The typical queen was three years old... some older... according to George, that is pretty much impossible...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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