Should I requeen? If so when?
I got my first hives late last spring. Four packages with NZ Queens, 11 nucs with local Queens. None were marked so I have no idea which ones superceded. I did requeen one queenless hive with a local Queen.
This year I got 4 NZ packages with the idea of replacing dead outs. I was lucky and my hives lived. One of the 4 packages went Queenless and I put in a mated NZ Queen. She has not been a stellar layer and I noticed a single Queen Cell mid frame. I removed her to a nuc and am waiting to see if the QC becomes a mated laying Queen.
I also caught a swarm and an after swarm..both likely my own. The after swarm is now laying. I am waiting to see brood from the main swarm.
I have a few new nucs that are waiting on virgins mating and laying.
My questions revolves around my over wintered hives. I really don't know how old the Queens are as they weren't marked. Do I check the laying pattern and if not wall to wall brood on some of the brood frames do I requeen? I would give the old Queen a chance in a small nuc...perhaps they would supercede and I would end with a new Queen ..or..if the main hive ended up Queenless I could combine the Queened nuc back with them.
I am better to remove the Queen and let them make their own Queen or to put in a mated Queen or Queen cell.
So little experience, so many questions.
On a side note:
I think next spring, hoping I have hives survive , I will remove the Queens into nucs and hope they reQueen themselves in the latter half of May when drones are flying.
Thanks for any and all guidance.
Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06