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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have sort of of interesting situation.
Two hives, standing one right next to another. Both were splits, one from survivor bees (call them hive S) and another from carniolians (C). Split at the same time equally strong. Both were queened with new breeder queens (Russians), since queens were early season queens I would guess they are most likely sisters, but I'm speculating here. Anyway, both hives accepted queens and grew sort of similar, hive S may be a bit stronger, but barely noticeable.
Roughly two weeks back I put one deep and one medium on each hive. Checked them Y'day: S hive is visually much stronger and more populous. S queen is laying wall to wall, top deep is full with brood, larvae and eggs. Decent amount of honey, but they did not even touch the medium super and had a bunch of swarm cells!.
C hive - not as many bees BUT the medium super is 3/4 full, second deep as 50% full with honey. Plenty of larvae, brood and eggs, but nowhere near as hive S. In my rough weighting C hive has over 20 pounds of honey than S.
Now, question is why? What exactly made a difference? Queens? Unlikely. Carniolians vs Survivors - I doubt it. Just a chance - I don't know. Wonder if anybody had similar experience.
Also think that S hive would be a good candidate to be promoted in to nucs and be a good bee factory. Definitely want to use C hive daughters for new queens next year.
 

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Now, question is why? What exactly made a difference? Queens? Unlikely. Carniolians vs Survivors - I doubt it.
Based on what, exactly ? Two 'sister-queens' (perhaps, but maybe not) - even if they did have the same mother, their fathers could have been different - so maybe one is producing a different 'mix' of pheromones than the other ?

The two colonies involved here have come from different sources - so why do you doubt that they express different behaviours ? Even if the queens involved are identical clones of each other, it takes time for the influence of new queens to produce an effect.

People sometimes talk almost as if a queen and a colony are discrete units which can be viewed as being independent from one another, and moved around indiscriminately like so many chess pieces - but they're not - there's also the neuro-biological relationship between queen and colony to take into account. A taste of this can sometimes be observed when introducing a queen into a colony with far different genetics. On one occasion I had extreme difficulty in getting a purchased queen to be accepted by a target colony, and so after a week of hostility I tried her with another colony from a different line - with almost instant acceptance. This sort of event is just a tiny window into a world which we barely understand the complexities of.

If the dynamics of initial acceptance can be so varied - then why not the ongoing effects of pheromonal differences too ? I'd say a colony is ultimately only as good as the relationship between it and the queen which 'heads' it, but also that each queen is only as good as the relationship between her and the colony within which she resides. When eventually she gets to head a colony exclusively of her own 'manufacture' (as it were), only then do we get to see a true picture of her biological potential. There are more variables involved here than anyone can shake a stick at, and the intervening period during which a queen temporarily heads a colony of another queen's bees only serves to add more. :)
LJ
 

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As little john says, there’s no rubber stamping colonies. They are as individual as you and I, maybe more so as the mother has mated with 15 or so drones of a different linage.
 

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....new breeder queens (Russians)......
You don't really know much about your queens (especially to conclude they are sisters).
You don't even know the degree of "russian-ness" they sold you.
For sure you don't know much about their mating facts.

I could be wrong, but very much possible am close to the fact.
Unless you bought artificially mated queens for few hundred bucks each and certificates attached and exact listing of how many drones of what lineage was used to inseminate your queens (yes - I am kind of joking now).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I as a new beekeeper I'll take it as a learning experience. As an engineer if you have same input you would expect similar output. Looks like I was wrong about same input on one major component ;-)
Anyway, do you think that S queen is good for nucs?
 

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Anyway, do you think that S queen is good for nucs?
I doubt you should expect a qualified answer to this.
Especially, a quick qualified answer.

What looks great right now could just die over the winter or by mites.
What looks dinky right now could be great the next year or survive through the most brutal winter on record.

I personally am for a variety at any point in time and letting natural factors to weed out my stock.
Every single year at every single location/situation is beneficial to this or to that particular bee.
 

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A 3/4 full medium and a 50% full deep is about equal to a full deep, so they are about the same as far as build up. I would assume, without actually seeing them, that hive c is spread out more in the hive bodies which could make it look less populous, or less crowded. Hive S looks more crowded, which it is, which leads to swarming. I would say they are fairly similar.

Sometimes a colony just decides to end their building at a union of boxes, especially when the upper box is not drawn comb. Probably hive s just made a determination to stop moving up, packed in what honey they could with the room they had, and maybe was hindered from bringing the same amount in because of that. If the brood nest in S is getting backfilled, they may well have a similar amount of honey put up as the other one.

I would say what made the difference was the colony S determined to stop at the top of the deeps. I have seen it happen and you have to convince them to keep going up or they will crowd up and swarm. Also, you state hive S might have been a wee bit stronger in the beginning. That detail can make a big difference too.

Just some thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A 3/4 full medium and a 50% full deep is about equal to a full deep, so they are about the same as far as build up. I would assume, without actually seeing them, that hive c is spread out more in the hive bodies which could make it look less populous, or less crowded. Hive S looks more crowded, which it is, which leads to swarming. I would say they are fairly similar.
No, I weighted them, C hive has at least 20lb advantage (weighed back side of the hive and diff was 10lb). But I see your point, cause indeed I had undrawn comb in the upper medium super. I'll give them a few started combs from another hive.
 

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I had literally sister queens next to each other last year. Both in long hives. TB3 was started as a 5 frame nuc with a queen cell at the same time as TB5. TB3 got more drawn comb... but...By about 2 months later, TB3 had filled the hive with bees, and TB5 had a similar number of combs, maybe 5 less (out of 25 total), but 5 solid beautiful deep honey frames. Those bees chose to make honey instead of bees.

It is genetic. It is (to some degree) heritable). The environment and management does make a big difference, of course. And weird traits that one has (goes out and robs weak hives vs doesn't, for example) can amplify a hive building up bees vs honey.

But some bees, you just can't keep them in the box. I had 3 other hives (all sisters) which were started in June 2018 and swarmed end of Aug 2018.

So I am breeding from the 2 hives (of 6) that did not swarm (or try to) in the fall. Of the 4 who overwintered and swarmed (or tried to), 3/4 swarmed this spring. I caught 2 of the swarms, missed the other.

We shall see if this plan works.....to select against swarminess.
 
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