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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    adair county, kentucky, usa
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    461

    Default Constant Superseding

    I have a hive that has superseded at least 5 or 6 times this year. I checked them in early September and they had another new queen. I decided to give her some time to start laying and get prepared for winter. I thought there may be enough time for her to get established and laying before winter, especially if I fed them. Yesterday I went back into the hive to make sure the new queen was laying. The new queen was gone, and I found 12 capped queen cells. Apparently they decided to supersede with the very first eggs she layed. They have done this all summer long. As soon as a new queen starts laying they kill her and start a bunch of new queen cells. I tore all the queen cells down yesterday, and this morning I used a double screen board and set them on top of another weak hive. I have never seen a hive supersede so much. Has anyone else had a hive like this, and if so how did you deal with it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,290

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    If the colony has had a heavy varroa mite infestation this year I would suspect a heavy virus load is damaging the queens. If it was poor mating because of a shortage of drones all of the other queens you have had raised in your colonies would show the same problem. If it is the strain of bees, the queen's sisters would probably be superseding also.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    172

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    I had a couple of hives like that this season. Back in late July, one of the frames had at least 40 queen cells on it. They were all "hatched" when I noticed. Even the queens that I bought through a local beekeeper association were weak. They originated from Georgia. Not sure why.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    If the colony has had a heavy varroa mite infestation this year I would suspect a heavy virus load is damaging the queens. If it was poor mating because of a shortage of drones all of the other queens you have had raised in your colonies would show the same problem. If it is the strain of bees, the queen's sisters would probably be superseding also.
    Mites aren't the problem. The original queen was a Yugo and all others were daughters. I even cut cells from this hive and added to other hives. Those queens are doing fine. It seems for some reason this hive has never let a queen lay for more than a few days before superseding. It's late in the year and I'm tired of fighting these bees so I am combining them with a single body hive that was a late swarm. I was wondering if anyone else has had a hive like this and if they figured out why they were never satisfied with their queen?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Napoleon, OH
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    I have had a couple like this and never could figure out what caused it. Funny thing is they superceded all summer, but once fall set in, they stopped making cells and went through the winter with the final queen of the year. The next spring they acted normal, and now that I think of it, one of the queens lasted for two more summers after that.

    Just a thought on your combine.....do you think the bees from the supercedure hive might kill the queen of the hive you combine them with? I just wanted to bring this up because it seems like your hive is pretty set on making queen cells. I wonder if her fate would be any better than the queens they've already superceded?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper View Post
    Just a thought on your combine.....do you think the bees from the supercedure hive might kill the queen of the hive you combine them with? I just wanted to bring this up because it seems like your hive is pretty set on making queen cells. I wonder if her fate would be any better than the queens they've already superceded?
    That thought has crossed my mind. The hive I am combining them with is the stronger hive so I hope they will be the dominating force. I don't know if it will make a difference but this queen is established, and has been laying for several months. They were with black queens. Now they have a yellow queen. I don't know if that may make a difference, too.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    I would do a VERY slow combin. Double screen board.
    David

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
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    461

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Quote Originally Posted by My-smokepole View Post
    I would do a VERY slow combin. Double screen board.
    David
    I do have a double screen between them. How long would you give them before removing the double screen?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Any thing I would answer would be a guess. But would leave at lease a week. With paper after. But if you have the weather I would go longer.
    David

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,083

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    One thought I have had on this is that a queenless colony develops an urge to produce a new queen. the simple introduction of a new queen is not necessarily enough to satisfy that urge.

    If you think about it the answer to a queenless colony is often to give them a frame of brood. Giving them a queen that then produces that frame of brood could very well be not much more than doing the same thing. they got their brood. what do you think they are going to do with it now? I suspect it takes at times a it more than just adding a queen to settle the bees back out of that queen production mode.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,118

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill91143 View Post
    Mites aren't the problem. The original queen was a Yugo and all others were daughters.
    What is a "Yugo?" I like the virus explanation - or some other pathogen or poison that is persistent in the hive. I would not combine them. Probably wouldn't keep using the comb either. All just idle speculation though.

    And I think you mean daughters of daughters of daughters...
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,103

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    I've read about some bees that reject a queen that is genetically different than themselves. I had supersedure problems while requeening Minnesota Hygenic bees. They were aggressive toward the new queen and made two queen cells from the only eggs she layed. There is a great variation of what is normal. As soon as you figure it out, something will be different. HTH
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
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    461

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    What is a "Yugo?" I like the virus explanation - or some other pathogen or poison that is persistent in the hive. I would not combine them. Probably wouldn't keep using the comb either. All just idle speculation though.

    And I think you mean daughters of daughters of daughters...
    A Yugo is a cross between Russian and Carniolan bees. Honey Bee Genetics breeds and sells them.

    The hive was all new wood last spring.

    I have 19 other hives in the same area. A few of them has superseded once this year, which I expect, but this hive supersedes as soon as the new queen starts laying. If there was a poison problem I would think it would affect the other hives, too.

    The original queen was marked and I though they didn't like the marking, so I didn't mark the next one. Since then I would mark some and some I did not. Marking didn't seem to make a difference.

    As far as mites go I haven't found any in this hive, but they never keep a laying queen long enough to let mites establish a breeding cycle. It appears they have solved the mite problem. Unfortunately they aren't very good at reproduction, and their honey production leaves a lot to be desired.

    I have already put them on top of another slow hive. I do have a double screen board between them and they have their own entrance. I will probably give them another week before I pull the screen board.

    Obviously I meant that each queen was a daughter of the queen before her and not all daughters of the original queen. I was meaning I had not introduced any queens, and all queens were raised by them from their own stock.

    I think this hive of bees are just like some families I've seen, all screwed up and self destructive!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    I agree with Daniel. It's due to not enough open (uncapped) brood. The queen(s) may be taking longer to start laying than the bees would like, so they are making emergency queen cells as soon as there are some eggs laid.

    Adding a frame of open brood from another hive every week for a couple of weeks until the new queen starts getting going with laying will stop the supersedure.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
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    461

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    I agree with Daniel. It's due to not enough open (uncapped) brood. The queen(s) may be taking longer to start laying than the bees would like, so they are making emergency queen cells as soon as there are some eggs laid.

    Adding a frame of open brood from another hive every week for a couple of weeks until the new queen starts getting going with laying will stop the supersedure.
    You and Daniel are probably right. Unfortunately it is to late in the year to let them raise another queen, but for any future incidents like this I will probably take the approach you and Daniel suggest. I have another hive with a Yugo queen and they have done fantastic. So I'm not blaming it on the Yugos. They superseded the first queen two weeks after I split them and introduced her. Since then they have never stopped superseding.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,083

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Bill, One of the differences that seemed to be described. The bees are killing the queen after she has laid only a small amount of eggs. this would be in comparison to a colony that allows the queen to continue to lay even as they build queen cells to replace her. the brood build up woudl never have a chance to happen. That is how it fits together in my thinking anyway.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Bill, One of the differences that seemed to be described. The bees are killing the queen after she has laid only a small amount of eggs. this would be in comparison to a colony that allows the queen to continue to lay even as they build queen cells to replace her. the brood build up woudl never have a chance to happen. That is how it fits together in my thinking anyway.
    I think you are right. It is like they have been without brood for so long that when the new queen starts to lay they kill her because they are blaming her for the lack of brood, and this has been the vicious cycle ever since I made this nuc (split) back in April.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Bill,
    I had a similar situation in the spring/summer. They replaced the queen 3 or 4 times in a row until they ended up happy with her. Still not sure why. I had other hives in the area that had queens successfully mate.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,083

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    I struggled with as many as 12 hives this past spring. I cannot even remember at this time how many of those killed queen after queen. It seems to me it was 3 or 4. and this instant killing of a queen due to being queenless for so long is exactly how it appeared to me. I eventually requeened at least two of them with the adding of brood method I described. And it worked.

    This year was a nightmare when it came to queens. I now have 20 hives. built up from 5. but it took over 100 queens to get them going. I am an expert on how to get a queen killed.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    975

    Default Re: Constant Superseding

    Bill & Daniel-
    I've talked before about introducing a new queen...so you are adding brood...how are you introducing the queens? You know I use a Laidlaw cage to introduce a queen.

    After so much superceding, I'd just get an over-wintered nuc with a very hot, mated queen and newspaper-combine them while (as you did) adding brood. It seems some bees just won't get it going hard enough, you got to change bloodlines when it happens, or combine for Winter and split in the Spring.

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