Grafting from a failing queen?
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  1. #1
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    Default Grafting from a failing queen?

    I sold a queen and the customer volunteered to give me his old queen for free. He claims she has been a rock star for him and survived 2 winters. But by the third year, she was starting to fail, with spotty brood pattern.

    I am always in search of good local survivor genetics. Is it safe to graft larvae from a queen that had started to fail? Could the quality of her larvae be compromised? Or are eggs from a young queen just as healthy as an old queen?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Grafting from a failing queen?

    Take the queen, put her in a nuc with fresh drawn comb and plenty of nurse bees and see how she does. Spotty could be her but it could also be the old comb. I don't think genetics change as as we get older so she should be able to produce qood eggs which your starter hive will turn into good queen cells. She may be into the quality, not quantity, phase of her life. ( That is what I tell my co-workers too)!
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Grafting from a failing queen?

    >survived 2 winters.
    >good local survivor genetics

    If you call two years survivor genetics, I have dozens of queens I can sell you cheap. How much will you pay for my 7 year survivor strain?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Grafting from a failing queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Take the queen, put her in a nuc with fresh drawn comb and plenty of nurse bees and see how she does.
    That's exactly what I would do. And, if you have the facilities available - take a couple of daughters from her asap, in case this winter should take it's toll on that particular colony.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Grafting from a failing queen?

    Pattern is probably suffering because of a mite problem, not a queen problem.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Grafting from a failing queen?

    One thing worth mentioning - good old queens of choice should be kept for drone generation.
    People keep forgetting/ignoring this.

    Yet the drone side (as a collective) is responsible for 50% of the genetics.

    Keep good old queens around for as long as they live in small, drone generating nucs.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    Pattern is probably suffering because of a mite problem, not a queen problem.
    I can confirm. The customer monitors mites by "looking at the bees" and has never treated. Which makes this queen more interesting to me.... Supposedly survives 2 winters without mite treatments, spotty brood perhaps due to strong hygienic behavior.

    Thanks everyone for the replies. I am going to give this old girl a proper, clean home, see what she can do, and steal a few grafts before winter.

  9. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Keep good old queens around for as long as they live in small, drone generating nucs.
    Excellent point which I hadn't considered. I am indeed trying to improve the drone genetics in my area.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Grafting from a failing queen?

    Keep good old queens around for as long as they live in small, drone generating nucs.
    I haven't seen small nucs make much drone.
    People keep forgetting/ignoring this
    maybe, I see the bigger problem as people letting poor queens make drones just because they alive and laying . Re queening a hive (or the bulk of your hives) is not just about that hive, its about the drones that hive will throw.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Grafting from a failing queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    I haven't seen small nucs make much drone.

    maybe, I see the bigger problem as people letting poor queens make drones just because they alive and laying . Re queening a hive (or the bulk of your hives) is not just about that hive, its about the drones that hive will throw.
    Well, IF a queen was "good" (up to a keeper to decide the "goodness" of the queen), she is good enough and worth keeping to the end.

    Obviously, we are not talking of "mating nucs".
    Small is compared to full production hives.
    A healthy 40 liter nuc will generate plenty of drones if the queen is laying lots of drone.
    Just no need to let it grow any bigger than 40 liters.
    Give them foundation-less frames.
    Take away extra resources, what not.
    No need to expect anything from them either - just let them chug along and be self-sufficient.
    Just pump those drones for a season.
    After a season they may fade away as it is; it is fine.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Grafting from a failing queen?

    Hold on here a minute. We're talking about a queen that's SO GOOD that she's being replaced by the beekeeper, yes?

  13. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    Hold on here a minute. We're talking about a queen that's SO GOOD that she's being replaced by the beekeeper, yes?
    1. The performance may be due to poor management practices which could be corrected by a new keeper.

    2. Yes, my original question was whether a once vibrant queen had eggs that could produce a new vibrant queen

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Grafting from a failing queen?

    CBQ, I think the short answer to your original question is yes.
    Glad to see that you are going to give her a fighting chance to prove her worth.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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