Requeening in August: buy vs. build
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    619

    Default Requeening in August: buy vs. build

    I have two hives that are queenless and have started queen cells.

    One is a swarm I caught that ended up not having a queen. I gave them a few frames of comb to get started. A few combs had eggs.

    Another is a production hive that had a new queen that appeared to be laying well but they either didn't like her or I accidentally killed her during an inspection. They also have queen cells.

    I have had other hives produce good queens before, so I know it's possible, but that was in the spring. I wonder how good the quality of an August emergency queen will be. I see drones in my hives so I know there are some still around. Should I just buy a couple? I had considered buying from Strachen because I wouldn't mind to try some New World Carniolans.

    I would appreciate any advice on what to do. Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Requeening in August: buy vs. build

    All queens are the same make no matter weather they are emergency queens or not. With the exception of queens made from older larva. Many believe the best queens are those that have overwintered and were produced after the summer solstice. In many areas queen are at diminished production at this time so allowing a hive to build a queen during a time of low production is really inconsequential. If they have already begun drawing queens then what will it harm to let them finish. I am seeing plenty of drones still, The bees will continue gathering stores, and there is still ample time for the queen to start pre winter brood development.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Olympia, Washington
    Posts
    1,352

    Default Re: Requeening in August: buy vs. build

    It depends.

    I have a yard near a bog that has stayed well fed despite the current drought here is he south Puget Sound region...I'm sure a queen raised now *here* would be well fed.

    There are plenty of drones in all of my yards, which presently are spread from Olympia, WA to Oregon City, near Portland.
    So my queens will likely have opportunity to be well mated, if I raise some.

    But if f I'd started today, I can't depend on her being mated and laying until at least 3 weeks from now.

    It takes 10 weeks for a hive to reach peak population from the beginning of build up, and I want that peak population when the first frost comes.

    Our average first frost date is Nov1 -- only 7 1/2 weeks away.

    That means only 4 weeks, for build up if the queen lays in 3 1/2 weeks, and only 3 to build up if she takes her sweet time and doesn't begin to lay til the end the fourth week.

    Here, I would buy a queen.

    If you have plenty of drones, good forage ( or will feed both syrup and protein), and a much later frost date than we have, you might raise a good queen and build a decent overwintering population.

    Ask a local who is successful raising queens there in your part of Tennessee, and give his advice a lot more weight than strangers on the internet that live in a different local climate than you do.

    Have fun.
    Enjoy your bees.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Battle Ground, WA
    Posts
    370

    Default Re: Requeening in August: buy vs. build

    Great detailed explanation Beregondo but I believe your math is off, November 1 is 11 1/2 weeks away rather than 7 1/2. Would that change your answer or would you still purchase a queen at this time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    It depends.

    I have a yard near a bog that has stayed well fed despite the current drought here is he south Puget Sound region...I'm sure a queen raised now *here* would be well fed.

    There are plenty of drones in all of my yards, which presently are spread from Olympia, WA to Oregon City, near Portland.
    So my queens will likely have opportunity to be well mated, if I raise some.

    But if f I'd started today, I can't depend on her being mated and laying until at least 3 weeks from now.

    It takes 10 weeks for a hive to reach peak population from the beginning of build up, and I want that peak population when the first frost comes.

    Our average first frost date is Nov1 -- only 7 1/2 weeks away.

    That means only 4 weeks, for build up if the queen lays in 3 1/2 weeks, and only 3 to build up if she takes her sweet time and doesn't begin to lay til the end the fourth week.

    Here, I would buy a queen.

    If you have plenty of drones, good forage ( or will feed both syrup and protein), and a much later frost date than we have, you might raise a good queen and build a decent overwintering population.

    Ask a local who is successful raising queens there in your part of Tennessee, and give his advice a lot more weight than strangers on the internet that live in a different local climate than you do.

    Have fun.
    Enjoy your bees.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Requeening in August: buy vs. build

    Actually it is 12 weeks 5 days from today. If you cannot get a queen raised and at full production well within that time frame you need to find a different strain of bees! I could start a split and have them up to winter strength in almost 13 weeks. IN fact I did one the 27th of July. Tennessee has a slightly warmer winter climate that we do here in Pa. With that I think you would be safe in letting the bees rear a queen.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    619

    Default Re: Requeening in August: buy vs. build

    I really appreciate everyone's advice!

    Tenbears - great input as usual, sir! I'll tell you, as much reading as I've done I had not read that about the overwintered queens produced past summer solstice. That is good to know.

    Beregondo - thanks for such a detailed, helpful explanation.

    I'll plan on letting them try to raise their own and be prepared to combine if it doesn't work out. That is the easier, less expensive option and might also give me an opportunity to observe and learn a little.

    Thanks again everyone.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    lafayette, LA
    Posts
    268

    Default Re: Requeening in August: buy vs. build

    my friend, if you already had the winning answer why ask ? I agree with you. you have time to make your own. I would just go in there and sort out some of those queen cells. maybe leave only 3 of different ages. that way you have a chance, and they will not kill each other. I do it sometimes, but it works also without

    if you have other hives, I would get some brood for them , while they build and mate the queen, so that they have a continuous flow of young bees in there. it will help with queen acceptance if you do that, and also feed them. not much, but maybe 1 feeder/week. until you can confirm queen is mated. after that let it go and see if she is doing a good job. if you have a lots of hives around, I would feed in the evening , to avoid robbing.

    I hope this helps

    Quote Originally Posted by e-spice View Post
    I really appreciate everyone's advice!

    Tenbears - great input as usual, sir! I'll tell you, as much reading as I've done I had not read that about the overwintered queens produced past summer solstice. That is good to know.

    Beregondo - thanks for such a detailed, helpful explanation.

    I'll plan on letting them try to raise their own and be prepared to combine if it doesn't work out. That is the easier, less expensive option and might also give me an opportunity to observe and learn a little.

    Thanks again everyone.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,611

    Default Re: Requeening in August: buy vs. build

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    It takes 10 weeks for a hive to reach peak population from the beginning of build up, and I want that peak population when the first frost comes.

    Our average first frost date is Nov1 -- only 7 1/2 weeks away.
    I just checked my records from last year, temps went down into the 'no fly' zone right around Nov 1 for us. Counting backwards 10 weeks (3 full brood cycles) from that, puts us at roughly the middle of August.

    For me, this timing turns out to be really interesting, I had somebody show up here desparate for a queen on July 19, so we grabbed one out of one of my nucs and put her in a cage, I left the nuc to make a new one. Checking on them yesterday, there is a virgin queen walking on the frames and she should be mating this week. This is a fairly strong 4 frame nuc that I am planning to move into a 5 frame stack of 2 boxes once the queen is laying, and she should be laying by Aug 15. She will get 9 frames of drawn comb and a frame feeder in a 2 high stack of 5 as the final winter configuration, we'll feed them in early/late September to top up winter stores.

    For us, this is essentially an unplanned experiment in how late we can make a new queen, and still get a nuc up to snuff for winter with her.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    5,183

    Default Re: Requeening in August: buy vs. build

    I'm pretty much in the same region as you, and my past experience has been that a fresh new queen that is laying by Sept 1st can do wonders. But be prepared to furnish a purchased queen right away if it doesn't work out for any reason - there won't be time for another try.

    That said - I would probably buy one now unless I was willing to sacrifice the hive.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

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