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Discussion Starter #1
Came through winter, but population is low and hive is headed up by a supercedure queen (no other hives in area for decent mating). Would like to remove the queen and add a 3# pkg to it(with a new mated queen.
Any ideas on what would be the best way to accomplish this?
Thanks for the imput!
 

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Reduce original hive down to 1 deep super and kill queen(day before package install). Place a sheet of newspaper on top of original hive, place deep hive body on top of newspaper, install package in top deep, leave small entrance for package on top.
 

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Beeslave's recommendation will do the trick.

However, did you know last fall if she was a supercedure queen? Seems like this week in NH most clusters would be somewhat small, as they're just now coming out of winter? Some of my supercedure queens mate with ferals, as well as my drones, and they do great. How is her egg pattern? good and solid or spotty? lot of drones, or worker now? My only point is that there are several different things to consider, and she might be a normal, and good, queen for you. Sorry, don't remember if you said you have other colonies or not. If so, how does she compare with other colonies/queens?
Regards,
Steven
 

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We've had a nice few days with temps in the mid-upper 70s so the clusters are broken and the ladies are packing in pollen. Rare for this time in NH but we'll take it!

I agree, the paper combine will work fine. You didn't mention how well your queen produced last year. I went through my 4 hives and a nuc today. I thought 1 hive was toast but discovered a very small cluster and a queen. By small I'm talking about a 150-200 bees. Thing is, this Buckfast hive did the same thing last year and by June, I was splitting it so it wouldn't swarm and it still produced. With all of the other hives and nuc rocking, I'm giving this queen who has overwintered 2x the chance to repeat her performance. If she does, I'm hoping for cells from the hive.

John
 

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Jakester,

Just another thought - Order up your package for a late May or early April delivery (safer installation weather), but in the meantime, work your existing hive like a nuc. (1) If colony is small, reduce the chamber size by adding a divider board so they don't have as much space to keep warm. (2) Reduce the entrance to reduce the robbing threat. (3) Keep them warm. A utility drop light in an empty hive body below the cluster and/or black tar paper tacked to the outside of the hive will do the trick, and (4) Feed, Feed, Feed - both sugar syrup and a pollen patty.

Don't give up on them yet. If your queen is poor, the bees will know it and supersede her shortly if you provide the resources to sustain their existence.

If the colony is heading to be a dead out statistic, your package will have a head start with drawn comb and maybe a little honey.

If your original hive succeeds, you've got a package to start another hive!

Good luck, Steve
 

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Newspaper combine. But I totally agree with previous posts... feed and baby the existing colony, and put the package into their own. Worst case scenario, the little one won't thrive and you can combine later. Maybe she's a total rock star queen! Take your losses in the fall (by combining)... don't kill an unknown queen until she's a proven loser. Having two colonies offers MANY potential advantages to the backyarder.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have 5 hives this is my 2nd year, the first one was rough..weather last year was aweful wet and rainy here, started from pkgs and still had swarms, (don't think I would like to be confined that long either!) Lets just say I think I learned alot last year!
I replaced 2 queens.(.no eggs /no brood/for almost 2 weeks.)
The 2 hives that got new queens last spring are going gangbusters huge populations(Carnie/Italian/Russian)mix from the Maine coast.

Of the 3 remaining hives(all superceded queens) the brood is small ,I gave them frames of honey from the 2 stronger hives,(they had alot)had them on syrup/pollen sub. since the weather allowed.

My plan will be to monitor them and if by April/May if no improvment add bees with new queen.
Thanks (Nice to know there are beeks in NH here!)
 

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:scratch:
Your packages bees swarmed.
I have been reading about that here on this forum for about 3 years and I find that to be very interesting.
I need to talk to some package bee suppliers in northern California about this situation.
I have never seen a hive in California that was started with a package and have it swarm in in it;s 1st calandar year. In it's 2nd spring-yes.
Or, the bees absconded because of an ant attack.
Ernie
 

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I have had packiage bees swarm with 6 frames drawn sooooo been there done that :(
 

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:scratch:

I have never seen a hive in California that was started with a package and have it swarm in in it;s 1st calandar year. In it's 2nd spring-yes.
Or, the bees absconded because of an ant attack.
Ernie
I had one of my first 2 packages swarm in Sept the first year I had them. Caught them and put them back in. Problem is I didn't add a queen excluder on the bottom board and they left again 48 hours later. That time for good. I learned. Now I split in May/June and haven't had another swarm.

Jakester: If you added queens from Maine and they are doing great, why do you want to go back to "generic" queens with a package? A couple of suggestions: pinch the non-producing queens and 2 days later take a frame or 2 of brood from one of the gangbuster hives and add them to the queenless hives. You already know the genetics from the gangbusters was good enough to overwinter ans start strong this Spring.The problem is we need to reduce the use of packages in NH and really concentrate on northern raised queens from overwintered stock. Those are the queens that will make our bees stronger. Even if you have to take one of the weak hives and do a combine with the other 2, I think it's better to have 4 strong hives with proven genetics than try more packages that you mention did not work for you last year. Contact Mike Palmer and see if you can get on his queen list.

Good luck!

John
 
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