I hear that a queen lives for four years, and that, in order to maximise honey production, it's best to requeen every two years, as an aged queen is not as prolific as a younger queen.
Do you guys requeen every two years? What sort of difference in honey production is there in letting them keep an old queen?
Do you guys replace an old queen? I'm under the impression that if she's laying not consistently, if her eggs are scattered and if there is not many, or if she otherwise simply looks unwell, it can be worth replacing. I'm also under the impression that the bees will replace an old, bad queen themselves; are they good at doing this? Or do they tend to keep bad queens for too long?
When replacing, do you guys add a queen yourself? Or do you find the bad queen, squish her and then let the bees make themselves a new queen? My concern with the latter approach is, I believe the longer the larvae has access to royal jelly, the stronger, healthier more prolific the queen will become, and that sometimes emergency replacement queens can be less productive due to not receiving enough royal jelly.
I also stumbled across this quote:
"If you use hybrid bees or bees of a selected stock in your operation, be sure to requeen regularly. Allowing natural queen replacement usually leads to loss of hybrid vigor and sometimes causes colonies to be quite defensive and thus more difficult to manage."
Found at the bottom of this link:
What do you guys think of this? Is this statement true? What does it mean exactly by "of a selected stock"; are they saying if someone orders Ligurians from some breeders, then allow them to naturally replace their queen, then they will become more defensive?