Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.
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  1. #1
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    Default Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    I've got a 2017 queen (might be a 2016 autumn queen), Callie, on her third summer that has been my strongest hive every year and very gentle. Due to my work schedule I am planning to set up a cell starter nuc on the 21st and graft from Callie on the 22nd Since Callie's hive is the strongest, I was also going to use it as the cell builder. I've been culling all the drone comb from Callie's hive to cut down on the chance of inbreeding.

    But I have seen something the concerns me. Every week for the last three weeks there is a spot on frame #3 that has had a single queen cup and it has had a larva in it with lots of royal jelly. Just one cell, always the same frame, same spot. I've peeled it off to the foundation, and they just rebuilt in the same spot. I have not ever noticed rebuilding in the same spot over and over before - have any of you ever observed that?

    Our build up here has been slow due to a turbulent cold spring, our last snow storm was just three weeks ago. I wasn't even seeing drones until recently. Still, I'd like to replace Callie with a daughter, and then overwinter several nucs Palmer style with other daughters to have queens for next year. I suck at grafting and I don't have the resources for more than 6 mating hives so I'd really like to get two rounds of a dozen grafts each time from Callie, hoping half take.

    Thoughts? Could culling all Callie's drones trigger supercedure? How suddenly might she fail from laying up nearly full frames, and do the bees sense that? Do I keep knocking down the supersedure? Let it happen? If I let it happen I can can't use Callie's hive as the cell builder since the superseding queen will kill the grafts. If I do make it the cell builder so they tend to the grafts, will they stop rebuilding the supersedure cell?
    Last edited by JConnolly; 06-13-2019 at 06:22 PM.
    Zone 5B

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  3. #2
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    Gotta let it happen, she will fail eventually.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    Sometimes it helps to just type it out and think about it, as I have an idea. I think I'll let the supersedure cell happen and then move the supersedure frame to a mating nuc before it emerges, that way I've got a new really well fed queen but don't have to worry about her destroying the less mature queen grafts. After I'm done with the grafts and done using the hive as a cell builder, I'll move Callie to a nuc and I'll leave one of the second round graft cells behind in the cell builder to hatch and get mated. Callie can build brood bombs for the rest of the year in the nuc, or if she's still laying strong come fall I may take a chance on yet another winter.
    Zone 5B

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    After I'm done with the grafts and done using the hive as a cell builder, I'll move Callie to a nuc ...
    If this queen really is as good as you say - shouldn't she be in a nuc box already - in order to reduce her laying rate and thus extend her life expectancy ? You could then use her old colony as a queenless starter-finisher.
    Pulling her out now would also generate the bonus (unless you're on plastic) of a crop of emergency q/cells which would mature in advance of your grafts. 'Double bubble'
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    That had not even occurred to me. Thanks John, I like the idea.
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  7. #6
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    Due to my work schedule I am planning to set up a cell starter nuc on the 21st and graft from Callie on the 22nd
    Shouldn't you wait a week after setting up the cell starter colony to allow all the capped brood to emerge (nurse bees) and any unseen eggs on the frames to become too old for the bees to make a queen?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    I’ve been in a similar position. I pulled her out and put her in a nuc. She stopped laying shortly after. Turns out the bees were right a dI was wrong.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    Update. As of yesterday, seven days after prior inspection, and there are now two new supersedure cells with larva, one in the same spot as the prior cells, and now one on a different frame. As of today they are at most at day 8 but probably less, and I'm going to let them run their course.


    That changes up my cell starter and finisher plans. I think I'll move Callie to a nuc on Friday (day 11) and keep my fingers crossed that she keeps laying until I can graft at least two rounds. I'll graft queen cells on Saturday (day 12) and use the mother hive as a cell starter. On Sunday (day 13) I'll move one of the frames with a cell to a mating nuc. On Monday (day 14) I'll move the started cells to a different hive to let it be the cell finisher, leaving the other supersedure cell in the mother hive. I won't be able to use the mother hive as the cell finisher as it will have the new virgin and she might be able to get through the queen excluder.
    Zone 5B

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Default Re: Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    I had a great queen that was also trying to be superceded all the time. Turns out when I took a closer look at her, she was missing a leg! I don't know if that was the cause though, but I suspect it was because she didn't fail later. All the other queens that the bees superceded did fail though, so I've learned to just trust the bees on that one.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Persistent supersedure attempt against a great queen.

    I moved the queen (Callie) to a nuc on the 21st. On the 23rd I added a graft frame to the first hive. I made 14 grafts. Only two of them were accepted. (Did I say I still suck at grafting?) The grafts are now finishing in a different hive. The supersedure queens should have emerged by now so I'm staying out of that hive for the next two weeks. The two grafted cells will be placed into mating nucs on the 4th.

    In the nuc Callie's laying rate has dramatically dropped off, but there are eggs and larva. It could be her age, it could be the move, but I think it most likely that it is due to the decrease in nurse bee population. I will add a frame of emerging brood and a small pollen patty on the 4th and see what happens, I still want to graft more from this queen, I'd like to have more than just three daughters from her so I need to get her laying again very soon. If it doesn't work though one of the queens I bought this year is turning out to be a real champ, and it's nearly impossible to piss off her workers - I'd work that hive without a veil.

    Callie is a Northern California Olivarez queen. The champ queen (not named yet) I bought is a locally mated queen that is a descendent of an Olivarez queen.
    Zone 5B

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