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Discussion Starter #1
I have only one hive that I want to split to increase my resources. It’s in the country. I don’t know of any hives in the area, but I really don’t know. Should I be concerned that there might not be enough drones to mate a queen. I would rather not buy a mated queen.
Before I got my hive there were always bees in my big Magnolia trees and in the field but I have had bait hives out two seasons and not gotten a swarm.
 

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The bottom line is you don't know so we don't know. Your neighbour could have hives and there could be so called feral bee hives in the woods behind your house.
If you like your queen, go ahead and split. It's a good experience and a test of patience! She will get mated. J
 

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.... I have had bait hives out two seasons and not gotten a swarm.
Not getting a swarm is not a strong indicator for absence of drones.
I would not be making split/not split decision based on not catching a swarm.

Just split; try to mate 2-3 queens; if fail, combine it all back.
Chances are pretty good the queens will mate just fine anyway.
 

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Its always worth it to try, queens can fly pretty far for drones. you never know where bees may be hiding around your apiary!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all. Being new it’s amazing how some questions seem so not obvious and answers so logical at the same time. A bit of support goes a long way.
 

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The question has me wondering. What if the queen fails to mate? I know that after a period of time she can no longer be fertile. Do they kill her? At what point do they decide enough is enough?
I wonder how often we attribute this to "she didn't make it back" from a mating flight. J
 

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If she comes back poorly mated, she will lay drones. The bees might kill her after a while if she manages to lay a fertilized egg and they will try to turn it into a queen. Many times though, they try to make a queen cell out of a drone egg which is of course doomed to fail. Unless there is a new queen in development, they most likely will not kill her since drones are still useful. They are a last ditch effort to get the genetics of that colony out there so that the genetics can live on.
 
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