Reverse queen splits
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  1. #1
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    Default Reverse queen splits

    I do not have a good swarm management strategy. This year I split the queen out of the hive along with a few extra frames when I found swarm cells and could find the queen. I would leave one or two capped swarm cells in the main hive for them to requeen the hive. Should I have removed all the swarm cells and let them build back a queen from an egg if there were still eggs in the hive? Would removing all the swarm cells get the colony out of the swarm “mindset”? I am not aware that any of the hives swarmed after removing the queen and leaving a few swarm cells in place.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    I heard that raising a swarm cell queen, breeds swarming behavior, Paul Kelly UoG bee research center said it. Takes awhile to get an answer around here
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    I heard that raising a swarm cell queen, breeds swarming behavior, Paul Kelly UoG bee research center said it.
    In 45+ years of beekeeping, not my experience. I’ll take a plump swarm cell anytime.
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    In 45+ years of beekeeping, not my experience. I’ll take a plump swarm cell anytime.
    46+ years I might listen to you, 45+ no way
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    I would use the swarm cells they give you a minimum of tens days head start and that equals a lot of bees. Besides they usually make good queens.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    You did the right thing, trick with this maneuvre is to move most of the bees with the queen in that split so that she is able to continue laying strongly and be a productive colony, but won't swarm cos nearly all the field bees will return to the queenless colony.

    The queenless colony will not swarm either if it has enough bees removed from it. However it is a good idea to kill most of the queen cells just to make sure of that.

    The thing not to do, is move the queenless split and leave the laying queen on the original site. All the field bees will return to it, and if they were already preparing to swarm, they will still probably swarm.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    You did the right thing, trick with this maneuvre is to move most of the bees with the queen in that split so that she is able to continue laying strongly and be a productive colony, but won't swarm cos nearly all the field bees will return to the queenless colony.

    The queenless colony will not swarm either if it has enough bees removed from it. However it is a good idea to kill most of the queen cells just to make sure of that.

    The thing not to do, is move the queenless split and leave the laying queen on the original site. All the field bees will return to it, and if they were already preparing to swarm, they will still probably swarm.
    Wait! I removed the queen along with a few frames of mostly capped brood and put her in a nuc box. So I lost out on her productivity. But the original hive stayed pretty strong even though queenless. But I thought swarms were made up of young bees and I thought the older bees stayed with the original hive when the swarm leaves. So if I move her and a bunch of young bees, then won’t she swarm anyway? So, if you have double deeps for your original hive you would then split it in half? Do you kill the old queen at some point and recombine the hive?

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    Wait! I removed the queen along with a few frames of mostly capped brood and put her in a nuc box.
    Yes, more bees with her would have been better. Moving her with a few bees, means she has laying potential, but can't use it due to lack of bees, whereas the other hive has plenty of adult bee resources but can't take advantage immediately due to no laying queen. Might as well put those resources where they will be useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    But I thought swarms were made up of young bees and I thought the older bees stayed with the original hive when the swarm leaves.
    That's the common wisdom. Not sure if it's true. I have seen hives in the act of swarming, and seen field bees returning with a load of pollen on their legs, land on the entrance, then immediately join the swarm. So I know that at least some older bees go with the swarm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    So if I move her and a bunch of young bees, then won’t she swarm anyway?
    Not if you do it how i said. I do this routinely and it's close to 100% successful at preventing swarming. I don't get too fussed about how old the bees are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    So, if you have double deeps for your original hive you would then split it in half?
    Possibly. I just break the hives up depending on how they are made up and what the needs of each split will be in the coming weeks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    Do you kill the old queen at some point and recombine the hive?
    Me, no. However you could if you wish.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    So how do you keep your Apiary from growing exponentially? I came thru the winter with 17 hives and now thru splits and swarm cells and swarms I have around 40 which is too much for me to manage.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    That's the problem, it's called hive creep. You keep getting more and more hives LOL.

    But for me not an issue, I sell bees, that's my job.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    "But I thought swarms were made up of young bees and I thought the older bees stayed with the original hive when the swarm leaves."
    That's the common wisdom. Not sure if it's true. I have seen hives in the act of swarming, and seen field bees returning with a load of pollen on their legs, land on the entrance, then immediately join the swarm. So I know that at least some older bees go with the swarm.
    It's not true. Today is the 9th June - on the 1st I had a swarm arrive here from a neighbouring apiary. The guy pushes for an OSR (Canola) honey crop and sometimes overdoes things. As they're really nice bees (Buckfast) I hope he keeps on doing that ...

    Anyway - I've just made a first inspection and had expected to find a colony of modest size, perhaps in need of feeding, as we've just had a string of non-flying days due to continuous rain.

    But - not a bit of it. There's been a lot of comb tear-down and re-building due I suspect to a wax-moth nest, one comb is loaded-up with nectar, and another with pollen - and there's quite a lot of advanced larvae too.
    I'd bet my pension nurse bees alone wouldn't have achieved all that in such a short time.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    That's the problem, it's called hive creep. You keep getting more and more hives LOL.

    But for me not an issue, I sell bees, that's my job.
    Who do you sell your bees to and how much do you sell them for?

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    In 45+ years of beekeeping, not my experience. I’ll take a plump swarm cell anytime.
    I don't know just saying what the bee research center says, this is from their website:
    11. Can you make a split without adding a mated queen/can a split raise their own queen?

    A split can raise their own queen (if they have eggs), but it is better to purchase a mated queen or queen cell from a local bee breeder. Queens raised by a split are reared under the worst possible conditions, are physiologically inferior, and you aren't taking the opportunity to improve your hive genetics. For a number of reasons, colonies get more aggressive if splits raise their own queens. We always use queen cells that we have reared from breeder colonies so we can maintain and improve our genetics. Cells found in hives can be poorly reared if conditions aren't good or if you use swarm cells you, are unintentionally breeding for swarming behaviour.
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  15. #14
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    To look at it from the other side; How many keepers have successfully bred a bee that will not swarm?
    If you were to use a swarm cell from a hive that was light in bees and had plenty of space but still made swarm cells , you could, to an extent, keep a swarmy line going.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    IFOH, ya gotta understand that what you quoted is the researcher's OPINION. Unfortunantly for them, it is just not observed in real life beekeeping. Trying to breed swarming out of bees would be akin to trying to breed abstinence into a teenager. Ain't gonna happen, ever. Sure, some hives do have a tendancy to swarm more than others, as do some races of bees. It is well known that AHB swarm like crazy. A package that my mentee from last year bought kept swarming evey time they had a mated queen, at least four times, all about a month apart. I would not take one of those swarm cells if you paid me. Reality though is that strong hives make strong queens. A good queen is more about nutrition and mating than E cell, swarm cell, or supercedure, provided the bees have a sufficient variety of larvae to choose from. That is MY opinion.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    Who do you sell your bees to and how much do you sell them for?
    I'm in a different country to you Alram. The bees i sell do not have swarm made queens they have queens raised from selected breeders.

    Hives i have that have a swarm raised queen get treated the same as all the other hives. If the bees have bad characteristics, such as swarminess, they are not bred from, and may be requeened.

    However the law of unintended consequences can apply. Bees have used swarming as their only means of reproduction for thousands of years. Any healthy hive, given the right circumstances, will attempt to swarm. I heard of a bee breeding program that attempted to find and breed from bees with low swarminess. After some years, they realised they had ended up with a line of poor hives that didn't swarm, because they were too weak to swarm, at swarming time.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by Alram View Post
    Who do you sell your bees to and how much do you sell them for?
    Nucs in your area sell from 125 - 175
    I did a random search on TN craigslist...
    DavidZ

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    >Should I have removed all the swarm cells and let them build back a queen from an egg if there were still eggs in the hive?

    No.

    >Would removing all the swarm cells get the colony out of the swarm “mindset”?

    No.

    >I am not aware that any of the hives swarmed after removing the queen and leaving a few swarm cells in place.

    Sometimes bees do things that are not typical. They could swarm regardless of what you do, but odds are a split will change their mind.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    snl: In 45+ years of beekeeping, not my experience. I’ll take a plump swarm cell anytime.
    I don't know just saying what the bee research center says [...] We always use queen cells that we have reared from breeder colonies so we can maintain and improve our genetics. [...] if you use swarm cells you, are unintentionally breeding for swarming behaviour.
    The guy is trotting out the party-line - i.e. justifying the centre's activities/existence - you wouldn't expect such a person to look positively upon an example of natural behaviour, independent of human control, no more than you'd expect a turkey to vote for Christmas !
    I agree - give me a well nourished swarm cell every time.
    It's what bees do - whenever they're allowed to.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Reverse queen splits

    To grozzie2
    If you disagree with what I've written above - then this forum is the right place to express your criticism, rather than sending me a hostile Personal Message, as each member of Beesource is entitled to hold and express their own opinion within each forum - subject to reasonable conduct, of course.

    My opinion (fwiw) is that it is nothing less than self-delusional arrogance to consider that humans can 'improve' upon genetics which have been forged by natural processes over millions of years.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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