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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Middle Place, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    22

    Default swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    This spring has been one of my most challenging springs. My plan was to make splits and raise queens from my carniolian breeder queen to sell, and to requeen my whole operation. With many of my splits and nucs, I would let them go queenless for one day, then I put either a cell in (using cell protecters), or put in a mated 2013 queen. Many of my colonies would either refuse the new queen, (hatching queen, or the new mated queen), and would raise their own, or, allow the new queen to lay for a while then supersede her. These, as you know, are set backs and very challenging to deal with. I have alot of carniolian strain in my operation, maybe that is a trait of theirs. Have you all experianced these, and how did you deal with this? When I see them superceding and not accepting a good egg laying queen, I normally curse under my breath, and just let them have their way.
    Also, what is your experiance with putting a new queen in a double deep colony full of bees, but have been queenless a week or two? Thanks and best of wishes.

    Jim.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,033

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    You let them go queenless too long.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,747

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    I agree more than a few hours is too long. They will start queen cells sometimes as quick as 12hrs. Then you have to go through each frame and knock down all the queen cells or they won't accept a new queen. If you miss one cell acceptance problems are sure to follow. And its hard to make sure you get everyone in a double deep hive.

    I normally just add the new queen at the same time as I remove the old one. I do leave the cap on the candy side of the cage. Then go back two to three days later and remove the cap on the candy side and let them eat the candy away. This way it will take them 5-6days to release the queen. Don't normally have much trouble this way. If you give them the candy end right off the bat they will sometimes get the queen out too fast. That's why I like to leave the cap on for a couple before I give them a chance to release her. Then after you expose the candy leave them alone for a couple weeks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Jamestown, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    I make a split, move it a short distance from the donor colony in the morning and then add the new queen just before dark. The older bees fly back to the donor and my nuc is mostly nurse bees that readily accept the queen. If it is a little weak after the new queen is accepted, you can trade positions (nuc and donor) to increase the field strength before hauling to an out yard. Other ways work too but this is what I do since I split in one 7.5 acre pasture.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    Take the old queen and make a nuc from her or kill her. Put in new queen in cage right away. Always good acceptance because of young bees emerging. We tape the candy hole and make a small hole in masking tape to slow release. Works like a charm and remove the release cage months later.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Rush, NY, USA
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    Not sure what your weather has been like but you could also try feeding while introducing the new q and/or cell.

  7. #7

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    Hey Jim this spring in south ga. Hasn't been a good year for makin nucs. Worse year I have ever had. The nights getting down in the low 30s isn't good on cells. I had alot of cells that didn't hatch and they didn't raise a queen. Had alot of laying workers this spring. This isn't a normal year at all

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Middle Place, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    Hey ga.beeman, thanks for your responce. I think you are correct about how things have gone this spring. I dare say, that this year has been the most challenging year with queen raising. Some of it has been my fault, and some has been influenced by the weather. My plan this year was to raise queens on a larger scale, and to re-queen my whole operation with the Carnionlian line. I did this in two ways, one, I would either kill the old queen, or make a nuc out of her then the next day I would put in a queen cell that I raised by grafting. Or, secondly, after removing the old queen, the next day I put in a mated queen. Normally, all this works ok, this year the acceptance rate was very poor. They would not accept my queen cells, or queen, and raise their own. Or, they would allow her to lay for a while then decide to supercede her. And many of the colonies have been queenless now for two to thee weeks. So I've been in deep thought wondering what the problem is. I know there has been times when I miss judged the timeing and put in new mated queens in colonies that were still in transition and had a virgin that they had raised, and of coarse that would not work. I also wonder if transitioning or changing genetic lines (from what I had, to a pure carniolian) would add to the challenge. Anyway, still try to figure it out and learn from any mistakes that were made.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,811

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    I would suggest buying Strachen NWC, and following their recommendations EXACTLY. Of the last two batches, 50 and 60 each, all queens where accepted, and have only 2 per group fail in the first 2-3 weeks. After that, I consider any failures my fault.

    Crazy Roland

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,082

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    I'll back up Roland Also, I agree that 3 hours queenless usually does the job - they get bummed out at two hours, and every bee knows the score at 3 hours!

    My only other suggestion - and I post this way too often - is to use a Laidlaw queen introduction cage. Type "Laidlaw queen introduction cage" search words into the search box in Beesource and read some of my old posts, or go straight to the source and read Dr. Harry Hyde Laidlaw's book, Contemporary Queen Rearing, available through Dadant and Sons, also from Dr. Larry Connors' Wicwas Press - www.wicwas.com for the whole explanation.

    Briefly, the Laidlaw queen introduction cage is a wooden rectangle 5" wide x 7" long x 7/8" high with #8 hardware cloth stapled over it and a sheet metal strip attached to the inside perimeter and extending down 3/8" below the bottom of the wood. Select a frame with nice, flat, empty cells, brush all the bees off of it (remove all Q.C.'s), go inside your tent and place the young, mated queen on the comb and trap her under the Laidlaw cage, pushing the sheet metal into the comb down to the wood. Place this piggybacked cage-frame combo into the middle of the hive to be re-queened.

    The only queen rejection I get with these cages is damaged or inferior queens that are poor egg-layers, which the bees always know about before I do. 100% queen acceptance is quite common using Laidlaw cages properly. The Laidlaw cage is a push-in type cage that allows the mated queen to begin laying eggs, which brings up her queen substance production, especially pheromones, that practically guarantees her acceptance. The tell-tale sign is if the bees form a ball over the queen cage, they are still attacking her. If you see no "attack ball formation", but instead nurse bees trying to feed her through the hardware cloth, they have accepted her, and you may remove the Laidlaw cage. Incidentally, the cage has no candy holes - the beekeeper does the releasing, NOT the bees.

    Laidlaw queen intro cages are by far the best way to introduce a mated queen, and the single best prevention against laying workers. If you do get laying workers, I recommend the following sequence: 1) build a few 10-frame boxes with vertical slots for 1/4" plywood hive partitions such that 4 sections of 2 frames each can be made up (or just make 2-frame nucs); 2) divide the LW hive up into 2-frame groups; 3) four days later, the frames with the eggs (in the spotty, multiple-egg-in-one-cell laying pattern) are the ones with the laying workers. You can either divide the two frames into "1-frame nucs" and wait 4 more days (and kill all the bees on only ONE frame), or just kill all the bees in the two "guilty" frames (for efficiency I use a vacuum cleaner then spray ant & wasp killer into it - the frames are still good to use); 4) re-queen the rest using a Laidlaw cage and a young, mated queen, or newspaper combine the other bees with other colonies, or even make nucs out of them...depending on your situation, colony strength, nectar / pollen flows, time of year, etc.

    Either way, the laying workers ARE DEAD, you kill very few other bees, and save most of them. LW colonies tend to be very recalcitrant about accepting new queens, so make and use those Laidlaw cages! She almost HAS to start laying to get accepted by a recently-LW colony, and Dr. Laidlaw's queen cage design gives the best protection and plenty of comb in which to begin laying eggs. IMHO, this "Divide-and Destroy" method kicks @$$ over the shakeout method for laying workers. Works every time, and you're done in 4 to 8 days plus acceptance time (up to a couple weeks with LW's).
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 05-12-2013 at 05:17 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,494

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    Lot of Queen failures coming out of Georgia in 2103. Must have shipped to 50 different people on the east coast last week that had either dead or superceded queen in packages that were delivered to the to the NE from Georgia this spring> Whats up? Weather failures?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,082

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    Honey-4-all,
    I'd suspect that shipping packages with nights as cold as others are posting (in the 30's) is a big part of the problem. Over-wintered nucs would fare better, as would waiting for better weather. Are queens being checked for laying pattern after mating? Might let them lay a bit longer...just a hunch, I'm not over there and don't have a crystal ball.

    Beekeeper032000,
    I'd suggest not killing an old queen, but banking her or making a nuc with her until the new queen was accepted. Making a nuc is preferable if you have enough bees, but I figure you know that Have you read Dr. Susan Cobey's article on the Cloake Board Method of Queen Rearing and Queen Banking? I got it off her website, but her site seems to be off-line for now. I'll contact her and see where to find it.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 05-13-2013 at 09:23 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Middle Place, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    Kilocharlie,
    Thanks for your info. and the advise. I do think that is a good idea keeping the "good" old queens by nucing her. I do that sometimes, but not as often as I probably should.
    Yes, here in Ga. we have been having abnormal cold spells and rain. Many of the queens that I've raised and re-queened with have been superceded, also alot of drone layers,(queens that have not been properly mated, or laying workers). Well, every year has its own challenges. Best of wishes to you.

    Jim.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,082

    Default Re: swarming, superseding and requeening full colonies with lots of old workers

    Jim,
    Yeah, it is difficult to know if an open-mated queen has indeed been mated unless the breeder waits 2 weeks or more to check the laying pattern first (I use 3-frame and 5-frame nucs and really let the queens get started good before I judge the laying pattern). Then it's a race to get her to her new home and laying eggs ASAP. If she's too long in transit, it takes her a while to get started back up again, especially if it gets cold, all the while in a foreign hive and a dubious welcoming committee that wants to kill her. That's why I love Dr. Laidlaw's cages - they really help protect her get her going laying eggs again.

    Some club members are having a lot of success just buying a nuc and newspaper combining instead of re-queening, which DOES get honey in the box pretty quick due to colony strength...I'm starting to lean that way myself, as I figure the split happens earlier in the year that way, too. I'm still running a small operation, so the cost isn't so big, especially when it's MY nucs, but I can see that being a cost problem for larger companies with thousands of colonies. Maybe a good second-to-last resort before the "divide-and-destroy" method on LW's? A little more expensive, but it keeps your colonies strong, saving medication costs, etc.
    Best wishes to you, too.
    Casey

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