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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Sanilac County, Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Default Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    Hello Everyone, I am just starting out with my first colony this year in Michigan. My father was a beekeeper most of his life, however he has been out of the practice for over 20 years now.......so I am seeking advice to see if what he is telling me is correct:

    Background, I have one colony with 2 x deep and 1 x medium supers with plastic frames. I purchased a Nuc in late May and proceeded to monitor the colony every few weeks since. Bee activity seemed normal and productive and honey flow seemed good, in fact my father was impressed how well they were doing.......until last week.

    Last week my father and I did a complete inspection all the way down to checking the queen, brood, etc because honey production seemed to taper off quite a bit the last few weeks. What we found was a hatched queen cell and the new queen and a few drones amongst the workers, but no brood or eggs. Now, here is my question, my father is insisting that I purchase a new bred queen ASAP, and replace the young queen. There is no indication that the colony swarmed, so I am assuming that the original queen died or was killed by the colony for whatever reason. I am wanting to wait to see if the young queen starts laying soon, but my father is telling me that if we don't get a laying queen within the next few days there won't be enough time before winter and that the colony will die.

    Does anyone have any advice regarding this? If so, I would certainly appreciate it!

    Thanks, Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Elmira, NY
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    I've been going through the same thing. As a first year beekeeper I found this waiting to be very stressful, especially given the fact that fall is almost here.

    If I had to go through it again, I would probably buy a queen, if I could find a good one, rather than wait for cells to mature and a new queen to mate and start laying. Buying a proven queen is the least stressful, most reliable and quickest path to getting back to a productive hive. Since you appear to have a queen which could start laying any day now I'm not sure what I would do. A proven queen is the probably still the most dependable route. If you do the math, it will be the end of the month before any new bees start emerging.

    I look forward to reading other opinions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Sanilac County, Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    Quote Originally Posted by maudbid View Post
    I've been going through the same thing. As a first year beekeeper I found this waiting to be very stressful, especially given the fact that fall is almost here.

    If I had to go through it again, I would probably buy a queen, if I could find a good one, rather than wait for cells to mature and a new queen to mate and start laying. Buying a proven queen is the least stressful, most reliable and quickest path to getting back to a productive hive. Since you appear to have a queen which could start laying any day now I'm not sure what I would do. A proven queen is the probably still the most dependable route. If you do the math, it will be the end of the month before any new bees start emerging.

    I look forward to reading other opinions.
    Thanks for the advice I appreciate it! Anyone else have an opinion on this?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,129

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    Im very wet behind the ears when it comes to beekeeping so take this with a grain of salt, but if you have a hatched queen cell but don't know when it hatched, She COULD ( maybe not ) start laying tomorrow. If you order a queen it will take a day or two to get there ( unless local) and 3-4 days for a candy release Plus you would have to find the queen and dispatch her. ............... I say let it ride

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Sanilac County, Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    Im very wet behind the ears when it comes to beekeeping so take this with a grain of salt, but if you have a hatched queen cell but don't know when it hatched, She COULD ( maybe not ) start laying tomorrow. If you order a queen it will take a day or two to get there ( unless local) and 3-4 days for a candy release Plus you would have to find the queen and dispatch her. ............... I say let it ride
    Thanks for the help!

    I am planning to inspect the hive this afternoon hopefully and see if the queen is laying, if not I am trying to determine how long I should wait before giving up and ordering a new queen?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    437

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    I agree with Harley. A queen mated with local drones are by far better than store bought.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,129

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    Bee keeping is local, so I don't know if it's too late in your area, I suspect It might be, but could you order the queen and if your queen starts laying in the mean time start a nuc to overwinter with the new queen ?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Sanilac County, Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    Bee keeping is local, so I don't know if it's too late in your area, I suspect It might be, but could you order the queen and if your queen starts laying in the mean time start a nuc to overwinter with the new queen ?
    I am in the process on waiting for a call back for local queen availability, if they are still available I may go this route.

    Thanks again for all of the help everyone, I appreciate it!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,921

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    I'd let the new queen go for it. She could be laying within a few days which is the same as getting a mated queen introduced and laying anyways. Also, what if they don't accept the new queen, now you're even farther behind than if you just let things run their natural course.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,311

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    You have a local virgin queen who will probably be laying shortly. If you buy one, you have to find it, order it, get it there, put it in caged while they accept it and it may still take two weeks after that before she starts to lay. The one you have may start laying tomorrow or it may take two weeks. The real difference is you have a local queen who is likely better quality than you can buy.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Sanilac County, Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    I inspected the hive again yesterday afternoon and it doesn't look like the queen is laying yet. However, the bees are very productive, have made almost 3 x deep frames of capped honey since last weekend, so it appears that the colony is healthy. There are plenty of bees and I couldn't find any signs of pests or mites. I spent almost an hour inspecting every frame, even on the honey super. I did find about 10 cells that looked liked new capped brood, but no eggs and I couldn't spot the queen this time, the ladies were very upset with me this time! Thank goodness for a good smoker and suit! lol

    I am still waiting for a call back to see if I can still get a local queen, if so, I may wait one more week and go that route if she isn't laying by then.

    Thanks again everyone for the advice, I certainly appreciate it!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,333

    Default Re: Young Colony with new Queen in Late Summer

    At least you know they now have a Quen they want. I have purchased several mated Queens...all introduced slowly by letting the bes eat through the candy. The bees superceded most of them and not all had virgins return safely to the hive. So...it seems although we feel we are good to go with a purchased mated Queen it seems the hive bees do not always agree
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

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