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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Should I requeen packages?

    Follow up: Only 6 months of beekeeping, and I think you guys were right.

    Our local club recommends maintaining "insurance" nucs. As a novice, having spare queens/eggs on hand has alleviated a lot of anxiety and was easy to accomplish. I decided to trust the bees and had a few scares - mostly beginner paranoia - nothing serious. I could've even done additional splits (we only did 1) if I had had the resources. Also, having access to several experienced beekeepers helps. If nothing else, they can tell you when NOT to stress about something!

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Billerica, MA
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: Should I requeen packages?

    Good to hear you first year is going well. I'm sure you noticed the theme here was ask ten beek's a question and you'll get eleven answers.

    It sounds like you did a split, and had at least one nuc at some point in the season. How many are you taking in to winter?

    Be very careful with nucs and "insurance" hives. If you have even a touch of addictive behavior and some luck you'll quickly find those become production hives next year. Next is buying hives bodies by the pallet, building a cellar full of frames over the winter, buying every book you can possibly find on beekeeping until your library rivals the local clubs and eventually selling your lifetime of accumulated fishing gear to fuel your newest obsession.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Should I requeen packages?

    I have 4 hives at the moment. More than the two hives we originally planned on. The property owners have actually encouraged us to install more next season - kind of like giving drugs to an addict (or enough rope to hang yourself). So depending on what happens this winter we'll be either rebuilding or increasing come Spring. One concern, however, is oversaturation in an area with several beekeepers....

    Winter reading is definitely on my to-do list: Any book recommendations for a second season beekeeper?

    Speaking of requeening, I just saw a link to this video on our club's Facebook page:
    http://www.nesare.org/Dig-Deeper/Pic...ter-hardy-bees

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Should I requeen packages?

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post

    Winter reading is definitely on my to-do list: Any book recommendations for a second season beekeeper?

    Speaking of requeening, I just saw a link to this video on our club's Facebook page:
    http://www.nesare.org/Dig-Deeper/Pic...ter-hardy-bees
    What have you read so far? I think most of the beginner books are going to be too basic for a second year, unless you read nothing to start from. For more of an entertainment perspective "The Honey Trail is a good book.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    733

    Default Re: Should I requeen packages?

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    I've been obsessing over this again.

    If the optimal way to deal with the possibility of a queen failure is to maintain at least one "backup" nuc, wouldn't it be best for new beekeepers to start with 3-4 hives instead of just 2? The 1-2 extra hives can be maintained as backup nucs. It might mean closer management on the part of the novice, but it gives one more resources to work with. Perhaps it also offers better quantity and variety of drones for any SS queens to mate with. IF we new beekeepers are better off with >2 hives (and I'm assuming we are), why do so many people recommend having just two? Expense? Fear of overwhelming the novice?
    The new thought promoted by larry Conner is start with 2 and a half hives- that is 2 plus a nuc. After teaching beekeeping for years, that seems like a good number to start with. 4 is a bit much for most beginners.

    And since Urban Outlaw is in my club- I can say, we try very hard to educate folks on the quality of the nucs and to get them to ask questions about what I like to call the "provenance" of the queen. There are a lot of quality nucs in our area. Not all, but we are getting there.
    karla

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Should I requeen packages?

    I have the following books:
    • Backyard Beekeeper, Kim Flottum
    • Backyard Beekeeping, Jim Tew
    • Beekeeping Basics, MAAREC


    ...plus pretty much anything from Penn MAAREC or that's available online for free.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Should I requeen packages?

    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    we try very hard to educate folks on the quality of the nucs and to get them to ask questions about what I like to call the "provenance" of the queen. There are a lot of quality nucs in our area. Not all, but we are getting there.
    Karla, I have to give you credit for making a believer out of me. Where I had a problem is having the discipline to maintain a nuc as a nuc an to not let it build into a full hive.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    733

    Default Re: Should I requeen packages?

    Quote Originally Posted by urbanoutlaw View Post
    Karla, I have to give you credit for making a believer out of me. Where I had a problem is having the discipline to maintain a nuc as a nuc an to not let it build into a full hive.
    Just saw this now- Awesome that I could transfer some good knowledge!
    I would venture to say it was less a problem of your discipline, and more one of lack of experience. You will get there. It is challenging to know how to manage a nuc and keep a nuc a nuc when you are also just learning about how to raise a full size colony for the first time at the same time. Nucs can also be expanded and then shrunk down- that is you can expand them up or horizontally- and then later in the season, "harvest" their resources for use in the apirary.
    karla

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