requeen failure
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Thread: requeen failure

  1. #1
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    Angry requeen failure

    Summary: I'm 0/4 on requeening this spring. Now all four hives have queen cells and no eggs. I have the old queens in nucs. Why did this fail? What to do now?

    April 19: Removed the four queens and installed them in nucs with a few frames and shook bees. (I was feeling pretty self-congratulatory about finding all four, many unmarked, in densely populated double deeps.)

    April 24: Quickly installed a caged Koehnen cordovan queen in each queenless hive. Removed the cork on the sugar side, but left the attendants in because I saw mixed advice on that. No obvious immediate reaction from the bees.

    April 29: Inspected colonies and found capped queen cells and no eggs in all four.

    I've successfully requeened a couple hives before. My favorite queen, from Olivarez, was even accepted into a hive that had begun to go laying worker.

    1. Why did this fail? Did I do something wrong? With 0/4 it can't be a coincidence. Something was wrong.

    2. Can I put the nuc frames directly back into their original hives, since it's their original queen, and it's only been 10 days? Or would I need to newspaper combine?

    3. Could I buy four more queens and just try again? Or is it too late at this point? Maybe I'd have virgins running around and killing the new queen or something?

    4. Am I best off letting them attempt to requeen themselves? (I don't love this option because my bees seem to get meaner every time they requeen themselves, and get gentle again when I use a purchased queen.)

    5. In future years, should I just not requeen? I feel like it was a lot of work that just created a big mess and set my hives back by a month or more. On the other hand, every hive will swarm if I don't requeen.

    Thanks for any advice.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: requeen failure

    I actually recently uploaded a video on this subject.
    I’ll add a link at the bottom of my comments. The long and short of it is the only way I can consistenly get mated queens accepted is to make the colony hopelessly queenless first. If I’m making splits I try to make the split 7 or better 8 days before I install the queen cage. When I install the queen cage, first I go through the hive and cut out EVERY queen cell. That way I get pretty much 100%. If I make the split and immediately add a caged queen….less than 50%.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcYo_H9QiQM
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  4. #3
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Do you think the key thing is waiting 7 days instead of only 5 days? Or destroying all the queen cells? Most sources I read say not to disturb the bees much when you install the new queen. *shrug*

    I just realized that those queen cells were made from eggs that were at least 5 days old and will make terrible queens if I let them requeen themselves. Ugh. Clearly I have to do something before I have a bunch of virgins running around. I'd have no hope of finding and removing them all.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Thanks for the video, Dan. Before you adopted this more labor-intensive method, what did you do in the 50% of cases when the queen was rejected?

  6. #5
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Cfalls, my best guess is you waited too long to introduce the caged queen. It needs to be done in under 24 hours or the bees will select larvae and start their own at which point they will not accept the queen you provide them. Unless of course, you do like Dan and make them hopelessly queenless by waiting a week and then destroying any queen cells you find. I do not think the cells you have now are bad queens from old larvae. Consider, you removed the queens on the 19th. They were laying eggs until then. Three and a half days for the eggs to hatch brings you to the 23rd. Add five more days for the cells to be capped and now we are at the 28th. You inspected on the 29th and found capped cells. That is what I would expect to find.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6

    Default Re: requeen failure

    Quote Originally Posted by cfalls View Post
    Before you adopted this more labor-intensive method, what did you do in the 50% of cases when the queen was rejected?
    Most of mine successfully requeened themselves. It set them back but they survived.
    keep in mind that mine were spring and late season splits. I wasn't trying to eliminate overly defensive genetics.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  8. #7
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    waiting 5 days before introducing caged queen just about guarantees they will have started cells by the time the queen was introduced or released. At that time you could have saved the day by thoroughly cutting out all the capped cells. Best to install the caged queen immediately. Yes there is lots of advice not to go back and check for cells but I have lost a few queens too that way.

    Check your calculation figures. They should be capping 5 days from the egg hatching using the freshest larvae. If you had waited 7 or 8 days AND torn down all the undoubtedly started cells, they would have been hopelessy queenless and should have accepted queens. Follow Beemandans link for more info.
    Frank

  9. #8

    Default Re: requeen failure

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Cfalls, my best guess is you waited too long to introduce the caged queen.
    The five photos in my video of frames covered with emergency cells were split and the new caged queens installed immediately. I only took the five photos but there were similar frames in most of the splits. In fact one of the photos shows an emergency cell right next to the queen cage.
    Maybe some bees simply won't accept a new, unrelated queen. I have no idea but I struggled with getting queens successfully introduced until I finally came to the idea of making them hopelessly queenless.
    By the way...one of the other things I've discovered is that the queen candy in many cages gets eaten through in less than 24 hours. I believe that this contributes to many failures as well. This is why I keep the cages capped for at least three days....regardless.
    PS For years I followed the prescription not to open a hive for a while after installing a new queen. I suspect that I lost loads of queens over the years. It wasn't until I began to wonder why so many of my marked queens were no longer marked. Then I started looking sooner and more often.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  10. #9
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    The queens I have installed have come in the 3-hole cages with the candy almost completely filling one of the holes. No problem with early release. I remember last year or the year before, there were some complaints of the candy being rock hard and queens not getting released at all.

    I have heard, but have no firsthand knowlege, that some sub-species of bees are not inclined to accept a queen of another sub-species. Russians and Italians come to mind.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10

    Default Re: requeen failure

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    The queens I have installed have come in the 3-hole cages with the candy almost completely filling one of the holes. No problem with early release.
    Mine have been coming in the JZBZ cages. More than one source.
    As I said....I now cap the candy before installing the queen. Hit pretty close to 100% doing it this way for the past two years. Prior to that....I was lucky to get 50%.
    I might add that the failures weren't because of the early release. Those installed with capped cages this year..... on the day of the split....over half had emergency cells three days later when I went back in to uncap the candy.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  12. #11
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Dan, I watched your video when you first posted it and agree with your approach. We all do what works for us, and when what is supposed to work does not, we innovate.

    And yes, there is not much candy in the tube of a JZBZ cage. I have a bunch of them but sell my queens in a 3-hole cage that I make with a #8 hardware cloth screen.

    1588205763932297704318.jpg
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    No one has really commented on what I should do now. Recombine with the nucs I made? Let them requeen themselves? Try again at introducing a queen?

    I read somewhere that you should wait 4 to 6 days after removing the old queen before introducing the new queen cage, so that's why I waited 5 days. The consensus here seems to be that that's either too long, or too short (if you're going to going to go through the hive and remove queen cells).

    I also read somewhere that more defensive bees are often harder to requeen, so maybe I'm double-screwed?

    Crofter, I agree that my calculation was wrong -- these queen cells might be fine.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    I opt for letting them finish requeening themselves. If the bees get hotter, you can always try requeening again.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    I almost never requeen using the queen shipping cage. If you remove the laying queen from a colony, and replace her with a shipped in queen, what are you asking of the bees? You've removed their laying queen and you want them to accept a non-laying queen. I didn't say not mated. I said not laying. There is a difference. When I cage my queens on catching day, they're big plump fatties. Next morning, after a night in the cage? Shrunken smaller abdomen. She no longer acts like or gives off the pheromones of a laying queen. Many are rejected. For better acceptance, use a push in cage. The queen is under the cage with some emerging brood. These bees immediately accept the queen as they've never seen any other.; She begins to lay, plumps up, and acts like a laying queen. Remove the cage and the colony immediately accepts their new "laying" queen.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Thanks Mike. I'll use a push-in cage next time.

    Given the situation I'm in now, and the fact that I don't want increase, I'm tempted to recombine the nucs I made with their mother colonies and hope they tear down the queen cells instead of killing their original queen. Then I can order new queens and try this whole process over again -- recreate the nucs, and introduce the queens in push-in cages.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Quote Originally Posted by cfalls View Post
    Thanks Mike. I'll use a push-in cage next time.

    Given the situation I'm in now, and the fact that I don't want increase, I'm tempted to recombine the nucs I made with their mother colonies and hope they tear down the queen cells instead of killing their original queen. Then I can order new queens and try this whole process over again -- recreate the nucs, and introduce the queens in push-in cages.
    I dont think that is a safe assumption. I think more likely some of the cells will be kept to maturity and the virgin will emerge and kill the existing queen. They could also swarm off with the old queen since capped cells present is one of the main requirements to support a swarm.

    I would give that one some more thought or research.
    Frank

  18. #17
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Quote Originally Posted by cfalls View Post
    I read somewhere that you should wait 4 to 6 days after removing the old queen before introducing the new queen cage, so that's why I waited 5 days.
    And this is the total basis for the problem you are facing.
    Terrible advice. Almost guaranteed to fail.
    Next time, remove the queen, install the new queen in the cage for candy release and leave them alone for 10 days.
    Sorry for your outcome.
    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  19. #18
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    I guess my other option is to sell or destroy the nucs, wait for the queenless hives to raise their own queens (or fail trying), remove those queens into new nucs, and finally buy new queens to reattempt changing the genetics.

    Actually, this makes me wonder why people recommend saving the old queen. If, when the new queen is rejected, I'm not going to reintroduce the old queen, it would be easier to just pinch her in the first place, right? So maybe I'll skip the step of creating nucs this time. There doesn't seem to be any benefit to it.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Gotcha. Thanks Harry.

    Here's another idea. I could have new queens arrive tomorrow. So I could attempt to destroy every queen cell in those colonies and immediately introduce new queens with a push-in cage. It's raining all day today and tomorrow but I'm still considering it.

    This whole thing would be a lot easier if the local genetics weren't so unsavory.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: requeen failure

    Delete
    Frank

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