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Thread: Mean Queen

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    haslett, mi, usa
    Posts
    6

    Default Mean Queen

    I am going into my 3rd year of beekeeping and have a question about replacing the queen in one of my 3 hives. I started with 2 italian queens/packages my first year, one of which swarmed (and I caught to make my 3rd hive). The new queen that was made from that hive as a result of the swarm has turned out to be quite a bit meaner than I want to work with. This hive however is also my biggest hive and a super honey producer compared to the other two. Assuming this hive makes it through the winter, I am trying to decide how I should go about replacing her in the spring. I think it will be difficult to find her to "pinch" her due to the shear number of bees in that colony (and how angry they are whenever I go in that hive). I am comtemplating just letting them swarm in the spring to get rid of her and hoping I get a better resultant queen from her after she is gone. What are the chances that I will get a more docile queen if it comes from her? I am worried that any new queen from her eggs would be just as mean if not meaner. Is this true? Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Mean Queen

    I had one like this that was in a nuc. It was extremely mean but so productive that I had to add a super every time I went to that yard. I fully intended to pinch her due to the meanness of the bees but at the last minute I changed my mind. Instead, I moved momma along with a couple frames of brood and eggs and a couple frames of stores into a nuc. (I had the queen in a queen catcher). I stuffed that nuc with as many more bees as I could, closed it up and move it to another apiary. The remaining frames and bees I moved into a regular hive body and super and left in place. A few days later I went back and split up all the queen cells into more nucs and moved those to another apiary. Almost immediately, every one of these colonies calmed down and were as gentle as any bees I've ever had, INCLUDING the one with the original queen.

    My theory: something environmental, not genetic, was affecting the bees - perhaps the box, itself or something else.

    I am glad I did not pinch that queen.

    -js

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,419

    Default Re: Mean Queen

    Breaking down the hive is typically a first response. Larger hives are typically more defensive. If that's not an option, you can remove the queen into a nuc and see if that helps her temperment and requeen or let the hive make a new queen.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,486

    Default Re: Mean Queen

    In the spring put a queen excluder in between each box, then wait 3-4 days. Then go through the boxes until you find one with eggs in it, that will be the box the queen is in, take that box and move a couple hundred feet from the hive go through each frame until you find the queen. Then requeen with your new queen. Letting them swarm in hopes of a nicer queen is not likely to get you the result you are looking for. JMHO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    282

    Default Re: Mean Queen

    Make sure to suit up as well when tearing them apart. I had a very angry hive like this as well. I tore them apart for spring inspection, put them back together and they were fine. Maybe they were queenless at the time?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Napoleon, OH
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Mean Queen

    There will be far fewer bees in that hive by spring time. If you still want to requeen, you'll have a lot easier time finding her then.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,318

    Default Re: Mean Queen

    I usually don't mess around and shake them through an excluder. Not for the faint of heart.

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