I know a couple of days is good for creating a split to add a new queen to, but can I go longer? I guess the other part of that question is how fast, typically, will a worker convert to a laying worker? Are there general guidelines there?
A laying worker is way in the future. Well after all brood has hatched.
Of greater concern is that the queenless hive will start queen cells. Usually when the new queen is introduced the bees pull down the cells if they are still unsealed and larvae small. But not always, sometime they go on to hatch and the virgin queen from them can kill the one you introduced.
Me, I de-queen and re-queen at the same time. A 24 hour queenless period can be OK, and some people go longer but of course there are risks.
The other issue making a split, is what happens if you do that and then the queen does not arrive on schedule?
Ohhhh, yes, Oldtimer, that makes sense on the laying worker. I think I was mixing metaphors. Great points, all of those. This is why I'm refreshing in advance of their arrival! Thanks for the reminders!!
I would pull the queen out and with a few frames of capped brood pollen/honey and move to a new location and let the mother hive with the larger population and resources make queen cells. Usually works great, stronger the hive better quality and more cells. If the hive is week, then the cells won't be great. You may even be able to make more than one nuc, perhaps 2 or 3 depending on strength.
This is a great method for someone looking to do small expansions and doesn't want to graft/raise queens in builders. One advice is too notch cells if your comb is older.
I would not requeen a thriving hive in the spring, early summer would be better once you are past swarm season. Introduce the new queen to a smaller split that you are more confident will not swarm on you. It would be a shame to put your new queen in a robust hive, only to have her fly off later in a swarm.
I agree with the others in waiting to split your colony "after" you receive your "live" queen. This time of year you should have good acceptance after a 24 hour period of queenlessness, as long as you don't direct release her.
That's one theory, but in many, many species of animals, loss of genetic diversity leads to loss of vigor. I am establishing a new apiary in an area where there hasn't been beekeeping in a while. My thoughts are by introducing new genetics ( in my case Russian queens) I am increasing the genetic diversity and hopefully increasing the vigor of bees in my area.
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