Why so many bad queens
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  1. #1
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    Dec 2014
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    Default Why so many bad queens

    Why so many queen problems?
    So many having drone layers, why?
    Why so many laying worker hives?
    That's all I'm seeing is queen problems, sure seems like twice as many or more than last year. Post after post are queen problems.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Lots of new beekeepers.

  4. #3
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    Sep 2012
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    it's been a wet spring, my guess is alot of delayed/ missed mating windows. If you pay attention long enough you will see a trend every yr about this time.

  5. #4
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    May 2015
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    Pataskala, OH
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    I'm one of the new beekeepers that are having problems, so I am not speaking from experience, but... April came in warm and beautiful and everything seemed to be ahead of schedule - including swarming. Then, May was cold and wet for weeks here in Ohio. I feel like my hives swarmed (I caught them) - but I think the original hives' never got their queens mated because of the wet and cold.

    Wally

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Quote Originally Posted by wallyblackburn View Post
    I'm one of the new beekeepers that are having problems, so I am not speaking from experience, but... April came in warm and beautiful and everything seemed to be ahead of schedule - including swarming. Then, May was cold and wet for weeks here in Ohio. I feel like my hives swarmed (I caught them) - but I think the original hives' never got their queens mated because of the wet and cold.

    Wally
    I don't know, Wally. I just checked your weather for the month of May. Not ideal by any means, but it looks like queens should have had chances to mate. Particularly the last ten days. Doesn't look all that different than ours, but sometimes the devil is in the details. I don't mean it as an insult to anyone by saying "lots of new beekeepers". I'm new myself... or relatively new. But new beekeepers are much more likely to post about an issue than someone who's been doing it for a few years. They just 'deal' with it.

    We had 5.5 inches of rain here in May and pretty cool weather too. Sometimes it just doesn't work out with virgins, unfortunately.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    I was looking to requeen and was in touch with couple of suppliers from VA. When I called to get status, they all told me same thing - they got crappy weather and are not sure if their queens are mated properly.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    I was looking to requeen and was in touch with couple of suppliers from VA. When I called to get status, they all told me same thing - they got crappy weather and are not sure if their queens are mated properly.
    Yeah, there is a guy local to me that I got a nuc from last year - same story. He said he might have some this weekend...

  9. #8
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    I can only speak for myself but most of the "queen issues" I have had or seen have been "beekeeper issues". The most frequent cause has been new packages where the queen was released at install or a marshmallow was used and the queen got out too quickly. Thus dead queens and laying workers. In the end, I believe the cause is poor training, bad or conflicting information or just plain confusion. There are so many relatively new beekeepers who don't have enough experience or hives to have seen all the problems that can arise and don't recognize the problems until they are too late to fix.

  10. #9
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    May 2012
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Where are all these queen problems? Came out of winter with 51 hives. Split 37 of them all but one requeened on the first shot. The one that did not got a frame of brood and the next time I looked there were eggs. So who knows maybe it was just slow or I missed the eggs. I simply do not see these missing queen problems. Nor do I have laying worker problems. If I do loose a queen I always figure I killed her with my feeble old hands while removing or replacing frames. Give them brood or just replace the queen done deal 99% of the time.

  11. #10
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    Bristol,RI
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    not to mention people come here for help.. not usually to report everything is doing A-OK

  12. #11
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    Nov 2014
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    Monroe County, PA, USA
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Where are all these queen problems? Came out of winter with 51 hives. Split 37 of them all but one requeened on the first shot. The one that did not got a frame of brood and the next time I looked there were eggs. So who knows maybe it was just slow or I missed the eggs. I simply do not see these missing queen problems. Nor do I have laying worker problems. If I do loose a queen I always figure I killed her with my feeble old hands while removing or replacing frames. Give them brood or just replace the queen done deal 99% of the time.
    Well it may just be because I am starting out but my theory is the bees know more about requeening than I do so I let them do what comes naturally. I did a walk away split early last month(then it turned cold again) but all the hives seem to be doing well so far. I hope they finish some Russian olive honey by this weekend so I can send some out to family.

  13. #12
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    Lots of new beekeepers.
    I dunno. It's a forum so problems will be over represented, but I picked up a sweet queen account for next year because a commercial beek is getting rejections, supersedures and drone layers.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    I don't think there's a surge of 'bad' queens. It's that the only new folks who post asking queen advice are those with a problem....and if you consider the tens of thousands of packages and nucs sold each spring....new beekeepers without a queen problem....the few we see here isn't really exceptional.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Maybe spring is just a vulnerable time for queens. I had one hive come thru the winter queenless, so that's my sad queen story. I think the cluster got separated over brood when we had a ridiculous cold snap all of a sudden in March with negative temps.

    That said, I hear people complain about package queens. More of us should make our own queens. It's fun and it's not hard and mine have always been good quality.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    In a hive that is allowed to make a queen, many queens are made, and only the strongest becomes the new queen. That's natural selection.

    A queen raised by humans, may be 1 of 40 raised in a hive, separated, and placed in a nucleus. Natural selection has been bypassed, allowing weaker queens that would have never lived, to breed. They are perpetuating weakness by bypassing natural selection.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Interestingly, my new nuc splits are only making one queen cell each. Maybe because they're a fraction of a complete hive.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Quote Originally Posted by jadebees View Post
    In a hive that is allowed to make a queen, many queens are made, and only the strongest becomes the new queen. That's natural selection.

    A queen raised by humans, may be 1 of 40 raised in a hive, separated, and placed in a nucleus. Natural selection has been bypassed, allowing weaker queens that would have never lived, to breed. They are perpetuating weakness by bypassing natural selection.
    Interesting. I know this is a sideline question, but is it the "strongest" queen that survives or the "first" queen that survives ?

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    Interesting. I know this is a sideline question, but is it the "strongest" queen that survives or the "first" queen that survives ?
    Is it a genetic superiority for a queen to grow fastest, and hatch first? Maybe.
    This is anecdotal only, but the phenomena of multiple queens in a hive is never mentioned about feral bees. Perhaps that instinct to destroy the competition is not always carried in human-raised queens. It would seem to be a flaw.
    Like most things bee related the answer is "usually, most of the time".☺. Nothing is 100% certain.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Quote Originally Posted by jadebees View Post
    In a hive that is allowed to make a queen, many queens are made, and only the strongest becomes the new queen. That's natural selection.

    A queen raised by humans, may be 1 of 40 raised in a hive, separated, and placed in a nucleus. Natural selection has been bypassed, allowing weaker queens that would have never lived, to breed. They are perpetuating weakness by bypassing natural selection.
    I disagree, In a colony with many queen cells. the first to emerge was made from the oldest larva. If you go by the book this one queen then destroys all other queen cells. Arguably it is possible another virgin will emerge that was produced from a younger larva and will win out. But natural selection does not select the best. it selects the most fit. they are not the same. Particularly when best is measured by our desires and not the survival of the colony. In the case of a colony having lost it's queen. best could be nothing more than the queen that can be made and be laying in the shortest period of time. For no other reason than to present another opportunity to make an even better queen. Natural selection produces a wide variety. most of which is useless to us and our intentions as keepers.
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Why so many bad queens

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    I was looking to requeen and was in touch with couple of suppliers from VA. When I called to get status, they all told me same thing - they got crappy weather and are not sure if their queens are mated properly.
    I'm in central VA - we had probably 20 days of rain in the month of May, and 2 days of actual sun. I still don't have my garden plants in the ground because my garden is a swamp at this point - I'm more than 2 months behind on that. Its been ridiculous.

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