Queen replacement strategy advice needed
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Macedonia, IA
    Posts
    6

    Default Queen replacement strategy advice needed

    I have 2 new Russian queens ordered (arriving today) with the goal of seeing how my dbl nuc hive box set up goes through the winter. But I also know I have 2 under performing colonies. Would it be best to requeen under performers now instead of in the spring, maybe use the under performer queens to guinea pig my nuc wintering setup? I guess so. What steps would I take? Do the colonies to be requeened have to go without any queen for a while? If so, how long and what is the best way to store the new queens in the meantime?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,253

    Default Re: Queen replacement strategy advice needed

    You kind of created a problem for yourself - your new queens are arriving today - and yet you have no queen-less units waiting for the queens and don't really have a plan for these new queens.

    The queens will be fine overnight in your house (assuming a cool, conditioned house and live attendant bees and a sugar plug in each cage) - just water them (search how to water them).

    Meanwhile, I would urgently create a small holding nuc for each queen (just 1 frame of capped brood/young bees + 1 shake of bees are fine; I assume there is a little honey on the frame too - for the holding nuc to float a few days).
    Ensure NO queen to be in those holding nucs.
    Do this immediately - so your holding nucs stay queen-less overnight and all that remain in them - young bees and whatever brood there is.
    Tomorrow introduce the new queens - in the shipping cages - to your queen-less holding nucs.
    The bees should take the queens OK (search how to ensure bees took the queens OK).

    Added: check one more time - to be sure the holding nucs have NO accidentally moved queen - I myself am terrible in finding queens (with some bad outcomes).

    Once you have your new queens placed into the holding nucs - then you think what to do next and what is it you want to accomplish.
    Now you have few days to think, ask questions, and plan out your moves.
    Take your time since you now can (and queens cost money to buy).

    Sounds like you jumped ahead of yourself a little - in my opinion.
    You create a plan and have your things lined up to execute the plan - then you order the live queens.
    Last edited by GregV; 07-16-2019 at 05:10 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,885

    Default Re: Queen replacement strategy advice needed

    I like to remove the queen for at least 2 hours. 12 is better. Overnight 12 hours is probably about as good as it gets. More will have queen cells started.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4

    Default Re: Queen replacement strategy advice needed

    First….in what way are those queens ‘underperforming’?
    What I would do is pinch the old queens. Install the new queens in their cages and make sure that the bees in the hive are unable to reach the candy. If there is a cork in place….leave it. Leave the cage for 7 days. Then, go in and remove any emergency cells. Uncork (or expose) the candy and allow the bees to release the new queens.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,595

    Default Re: Queen replacement strategy advice needed

    Hello Diane, Welcome to Beesource!

    Just thought I'd chime in and let you know a little bit about the Russian queens. If they are indeed heavy on the Siberian genes, they will not be your usual honeybees. They tend to over-Winter in VERY small numbers. They get started much too late for early pollination contracts (Russian queens are aware of late freezes and take plenty of time getting started in the Spring). Then, they get really busy laying amazing numbers of eggs and surpass your Italian queen's colonies' populations in short order, at which time they must be very carefully managed or they will swarm off on you.

    Do not expect the Russian genetiocs to stick around too long, they will likely interbreed with local drone populations and thin out in a few generations. The nice thing about the mean time, they will very likely survive any mite infestations. They are notorious for chomping varroa mites in half and spitting the halves on the floor. Combining this trait with the brood break in the Winter makes them very successful mite tolerant (intolerant?) stock.

    Best of luck, and remember to pay close attention when they start populating up. You'll be splitting them early or wishing you had.

    - Kilo

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