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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    193

    Default Should I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    Ordered a package of Italians (which I think was mistake) and I'm concerned about the queen failing, supersedure, etc. In the best interest of the hive, wouldn't it be prudent to requeen with local stock at the start (or at least ASAP)?

    I plan to start with so-called "natural" treatments and IPM, then adjust depending upon our failure (most likely) or success (not holding my breath). Obviously it's better to start with the appropriate stock. But at this point I need to work with what I have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,592

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    InI would wait and requeen in the summer. I would invest in some nuc equipment as well so you can deal with swarm conditions and possibly overwinter some small colonies. Any queen purchasing decisions should be made sooner than later...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    193

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    Thanks for the info. I built a dcoates nuc and have two more that need to be assembled.

    My first local club meeting is tomorrow - hopefully someone there can give me feedback on the potential vendors/queens so I can order before it's too late.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,949

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    Ordered a package of Italians (which I think was mistake) and I'm concerned about the queen failing, supersedure, etc.
    Based on your other posts, I believe you are a new beekeeper. In my opinion, you would be better served to spend your money on a second hive/package, and not worry so much about whether Italian is the right bee for you.

    There is no reason Italians cannot thrive in Virginia. But you will have much greater chances of success with two hives than one.

    Once you have established hives, and more experience, you can still easily re-queen if you really want to.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sweetwater,TN
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    Couldn't agree more with Graham two is always better to start than one for numerous reasons. Just about every bee in the US has Italian heritage of some sort they are a very versatile bee can survive in just about every climate. If your queen has a good pattern and her workers have a good temperament I say keep her regardless of what breed she is. There really is no perfect breed for a particular area if she is a dud with bad qualities yeah get rid of her. I've got several different queen breeds, Italians carnis, sunkist buckfast and black bees, I don't really prefer one over the other but like I said before production is key. Look up brother Adam abs look at the qualities he chose for good queens it is very helpful.
    Major

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    193

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    Yes, I will be another first-time beekeeper this year.

    I anticipate starting with two hives, but before I buy anything else I want to make sure I'm not screwing up with where I'd like to go by starting with Italian packages. The more I read, the more it seems it wasn't the best choice. On the other hand, I don't want to be sitting around this Spring with my hives an no bees. So I split the difference. Between the opinions here and input from local beekeepers I hope to make better decisions about the bees and treatment modalities.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    926

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    I agree all new beek should start with two hives. One of the biggest mistakes made by new beek.
    The other is not monitoring mites.

    Are you getting a VSH queen with your package? Have you paid for your package yet?
    If you want treatment free bees than I would start with treatment free.

    You might also want to try swarm traps. Make a bunch of D Coates nuc. I averaged 33%.

    You also may want to search soft or non chemical treatments.
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/the-...tments-part-1/
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/ipm-...tments-part-2/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,034

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    Not sure why you think Italians aren't "appropriate stock", but as for replacing the queen, I'd wait and see how she does before making any decisions. I've had some great package queens, and I've had some duds from a reliable, local producer. There's always some risk when replacing queens, so I don't replace one unless she gives me a good reason to.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    193

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    I put my answers in-line so they make more (yeah, right) sense:

    I agree all new beek should start with two hives. One of the biggest mistakes made by new beek.
    The other is not monitoring mites.


    I plan to run two hives. BUT I don't want to spend money on a second package of Italians until I've had more input. I also plan on monitoring mite levels...I don't see a better way to monitor treatment efficacy (other than outright survival). It's not that I think Italians can't be decent bees, I'm just not sure they're what I should be starting with considering my goals. Unless I misread the study done by the local club, packages only have a two-year survival rate of 40%. Locally requeened packages and nucs had a significantly better survival rate - especially as show in year two. After reading the war stories on this forum, it seems getting through the first year is only the tip of the iceburg.

    Are you getting a VSH queen with your package? Have you paid for your package yet?
    If you want treatment free bees than I would start with treatment free.


    Sadly, I'm not getting a VSH queen. That's part of why I asked about requeening. I've already paid for the one package, so I'm stuck with it...like I said don't want to pop for the second yet in case it's better for me to get different bees Everything I've read agrees with what you've said. I found a TF beekeeper I liked, but they've been running a waiting list for overwintered nucs for a while. I hope to get some local feedback about breeders that I've identified and perhaps suggestions of new ones. My interest is more long-term (overwintering and survival) success.

    You might also want to try swarm traps. Make a bunch of D Coates nuc. I averaged 33%.
    Most definitely! I have three nucs in various states of assembly and will make the swarm lure myself.

    You also may want to search soft or non chemical treatments.
    I agree there is a wealth of information Randy Oliver's site and several others. I keep re-reading and perhaps eventually I will retain everything!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    193

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    Maybe I am overthinking this? Worrying too much about choosing the best bees when I'm going to loose some, possibly all, sooner or later?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,949

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    I agree that you are worrying too much about the best kind of bees. Since you are also planning on swarm traps, once you have caught some, you will likely see that the free bees do as well as your purchased bees.

    Unless you replace every "hive raised" queen with a purchased queen of your chosen variety on a perpetual basis, the bees in your hive will be a mix anyway.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Plainfield, NJ
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Should new I automatically plan to requeen packages?

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    Maybe I am overthinking this? Worrying too much about choosing the best bees when I'm going to loose some, possibly all, sooner or later?
    Here are my key points:
    1. Any hive that has bees in it is a good hive of bees.
    2. Having two hives is better than one. Several reasons - Comparison, sharing resources, etc...
    3. Re-queening will not guarantee success; it may leave you queen-less regardless of your intent
    4. If I second guess myself, I breath, refer to #1 above and research things before I act.


    Chris in NJ

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