Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Powder Springs, GA
    Posts
    41

    Default Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    (To save time in explaining, just assume I'm making the right decision, and I need to requeen...hive is 13 months in my presence and has struggled the entire time)...

    SO, I've never re-queened, but I'm debating on ordering one now. Good friend tells me to just remove the existing queen, take her far away and kill her, and let the hive replace her naturally.

    I'm not too worried about the lag time in queen production, because even if I put a new queen in today, the numbers in this hive are so low, I would not see any honey to rob until next year anyways...

    What other things should I consider though in making this decision? I'm still new to this...but wouldn't raising a queen from the same stock just give me a similar queen, or not?

    I appreciate your opinions!
    One-Arm-BeeMan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    The time lag of no queen is the biggest issue (unless you don't like the genetics of the current queen). You can let them raise a new queen, but it is preferable to either time this with the flow (ideal being two weeks before the flow) or do it seamlessly, by putting an excluder between two brood boxes and wait until the new queen is laying and then do a combine.

    If you do order a new one, I would never kill the old queen until the new queen is laying. A lot can go wrong between ordering a queen and her laying... she may not even get shipped, or she could get lost in the mail, die, not get accepted...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Powder Springs, GA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    Thanks Michael...regarding genetics...I'm still new at this, so I'm not sure what is a "genetical tendency" and what may just be a one time "bad queen". I bought my first two nucs April 2012. This hive seems to have always struggled. I had to feed them mid-summer last year because they had no stores (and people that no better than me looked at them and said they saw no signs of robbing)...they nearly starved out this past February and got down to a hundred bees or so, but I somehow managed to do a lot of emergency feeding and they recovered...but NOW, they seem to operating as normal, but their numbers are not increasing as they should. When I inspected the brood box yesterday (8-frame medium), they had (1) full frame of nectar on the end, two full frames of brood...two frames of 25% brood (with no nectar around them at all), and 2 or 3 frames of pollen in a pattern the size of my fist.

    Does this sound like something that one might re-queen because of?

    If so, in this case, which method of re-queening would you use?

    thanks so much for your help!
    One-Arm-BeeMan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    346

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    If you always had these problems w/ this hive only I wouldn't let them make their own queen w/ the current queen's eggs. If you want them to re-queen then take eggs from your other hive if you like how they perform. It could be a one off thing and the new queen could be great but it would take you another year to find out if you go this route.

    I'd use this opportunity to inject some good genetics from a proven supplier.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    Can't really argue with the points above. However, just because this queen is a lousy layer, it may not be her genetics. If the brood is healthy, and the bees overall are showing the right tendencies that you're looking for, it may be that she herself was improperly developed, or improperly fertilized.

    In the past, I've been reluctant to requeen my hives just because I liked to see the behavior over time. I finally had one old queen run out of sperm this year. Awesome hive last year, then this year they dwindled and she layed nothing but drones, and not many of those. You queen could have excellent genetics, but the breeder may have tried to raise too many queens in the cell builder and her reproductive system was under par.

    Meaning, if you wanted to try to get them to raise their own queen, go ahead and try. Besides, the new queen will only be half your hives genetics. The rest come from the drones in your area, which may be better for you than a queen adapted from genetics in a different part of the country. Either option is fine though.

    Rob
    www. mongrelbees.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    > and got down to a hundred bees or so, but I somehow managed to do a lot of emergency feeding and they recovered...but NOW, they seem to operating as normal, but their numbers are not increasing as they should.

    A hive with only a few bees will struggle a lot before it comes back. The queen can lay thousands of eggs a day, but the amount they can raise depends on how many workers there are to forage pollen and nectar; and warm, feed and cover the brood. In other words 100 bees will struggle to raise 50 new ones. Those 150 will struggle to raise maybe 100 new ones. Those 250 will struggle to raise 200 new ones. Those 450 will struggle to raise 400 new ones. Now we are at 850 bees (from the original 100) and it took 4 generations (4 x 3 weeks is 12 weeks) to do it. A new queen will not resolve that issue.

    >I'm still new at this, so I'm not sure what is a "genetical tendency" and what may just be a one time "bad queen".

    I think it's pretty seldom that a poor laying queen is due to genetics. It's almost always how well she was fed and how well she was mated and how old she is (running out of sperm).
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Powder Springs, GA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    Thank you so much Michael, makes much more sense now!
    One-Arm-BeeMan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southbury, CT
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    What is the condition of the second nuc you purchased? Is it in the same location?

    If the second one is good; have you considered stealing brood from it to boost the weaker colony?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Powder Springs, GA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    The other nuc (both purchased one year ago) is very strong. (Two brood boxes and two supers of capped honey already).
    Yeah, I had a great conversation yesterday afternoon with an older gentlemen (who has 50+ hives) and he convinced me that it might not be a bad queen. His reasoning was that her pattern is not BAD...it's just not MUCH. I plan on boosting them with a couple frames from my stronger hive tomorrow.
    One-Arm-BeeMan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southbury, CT
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    Just watch the night time temps. You don't want to give them so much brood that they are unable to cover it. 1 partial frame of capped to start and add more after the first starts to emerge.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Powder Springs, GA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Order a new queen...or just kill current one?

    Quote Originally Posted by keeper View Post
    Just watch the night time temps. You don't want to give them so much brood that they are unable to cover it. 1 partial frame of capped to start and add more after the first starts to emerge.
    Thank you so much "keeper"...one more thing I had not considered. I will definitely make sure I do that in stages. Thanks again!
    One-Arm-BeeMan

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads