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It is early March and I have identified 4 hives with weak queens. I would like to replace these queens ASAP to hopefully still get a honey crop out of these hives. (Note: here in the Denver area, we typically get our main flow in spring, with only a small or non-existent flow in fall, with a dearth in-between)

I can't find any queen breeders anywhere in the country that have queens available in mid-March. The ones that indicate they will have queens by early April are already sold out, as far as I can tell.

I could swap in frames with eggs from my stronger hives, but I don't want to set back those would-be donor hives by robbing brood from them. Even if I did steal brood frames, it would still be about 4 weeks before I had laying queens. I'd like these weak hives to start building up sooner than in 4 weeks.

Anyone got any suggestions on what I can do?

TIA

--shinbone
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Dave - Thanks for the info. (edited to add: checked with Olivarez, and they do't have queens available until April.)
 

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Shinbone, is it possibly that these queens have not just got cranking yet? What was the criteria for identifing them as weak? I know that many of my queens are not quite in their stride yet (raising one, two, or three frames of brood), depending on the size of the cluster remaining. If there truly is a problem instead of swapping frames, (and I assume squishing queens), why not let the bees pick up on it (the possible problem), and they will raise a supercedure queen.
 

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I had put an order in for 2 queens this past January with a southern CA company. I called them today to see how quickly my April queens might be shipped (since I'm now queenless) and they said this is the first week that they have any spring queens coming along, and might ship on Wed. So, you might see if you can find a southern California company and call them to see if there are any ready. The company I ordered from also sells virgin queens starting in late Feb, so you might see if they had some available. Message me if you want the name of the company.
 

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Pollen patties will get them to brooding. If they are light on stores, then I suggest Dadant winter mega-bee patties, which have carbohydrates as well as protein.
 

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It is early March and I have identified 4 hives with weak queens. I would like to replace these queens ASAP to hopefully still get a honey crop out of these hives. I can't find any queen breeders anywhere in the country that have queens available in mid-March. The ones that indicate they will have queens by early April are already sold out, as far as I can tell.Anyone got any suggestions on what I can do?TIA--shinbone
The very best thing you can do is to learn to make overwintered nucs with queesn made in the prime season and nectar flow. Even if they are "store bought" get them from breeders that are breeding in hygenic traits and at a time when the nectar flow is on when the queens are produced. The follow Spring you will have amazing queens with frames of brood to add to production colonies or raise into their own colonies. You will be absolutely scratching your head when others are talking about tall their dead outs and having no queens available.

Here's a great video to get you started on the idea
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nznzpiWEI8A
 

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It is true that they are booked up to April.
How about your local beekeepers. Do they have any queen bees for you this early?
I called my local today and picked up one Spring queen but she cost a lot more than usual.
Worth it though. Keep on searching hope you will find one that will sell.
 
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