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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Granby, MO
    Posts
    105

    Default Do hive characteristics carry over from year to year?

    I am near the end of my first winter as a beekeeeper. Started with two packages and had two hives going into winter.

    I am now in a situation where my "good" hive from last summer, that had a ton of bees and gave me 2.5 mediums of honey, has perished (probably my fault -- another thread -- learning experience). My other hive is alive and appears well suited to survive the last few days of winter here. Both hives started as packages in late April, and the surviving one never really got going. It only filled up the deep hive body near the end of summer, and never gave any surplus honey. Never had enough bees that I thought it would swarm. Just seemed like a puny hive all year long. I assume it had something to do with the queen, but I'm not sure.

    So, on to my question! Can I count on this hive being lame again this year? Do hive characteristics change from year to year? I believe the hive re-queened itself sometime last fall -- is this reason for hope? I tentatively plan to do a split with this hive -- do splits typically carry the characteristics of their mother hive?

    This humble student thanks you for your worldly wisdom.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,790

    Default Re: Do hive characteristics carry over from year to year?

    Generally, characteristics of the hive do persist from year to year. Once a hive is requeened and the workers are the offspring of the new queen, the characteristics are likely to change at least a bit.

    If the hive superseded the queen, it would be worth giving the new queen a chance, in my opinion. This sort of situation provides a good reason to mark queens. With a marked queen, you would better know if the queen had been superseded.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Do hive characteristics carry over from year to year?

    I would relax and leave her bee... see how she does for a cpl months. Replace her in June if shes still slow. Slow build but survived, fast build but perished...... So which trait do you want? I have queens build massive hives and huge winter clusters just to eat up 90lbs of honey and starve. and had queens that slow build and small winter clusters that do good....... I prefer the huge build, but then I kill them off by takeing the honey.

    So a slower steady queen for me is a polination hive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,494

    Default Re: Do hive characteristics carry over from year to year?

    I believe in the second year queen as the producer. So I really don't think you can judge a colony unless the colony has had the same queen for three years. Also the offspring can have the characteristic of all those lazy males that the queen had a good time with. It is not just the mother.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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