I started 2 hives this year and was wondering should I requeen this fall/next spring/summer/next fall? any help from your knowledge is great. even a quick do and don't for requeen since i've never done it.
If you want to requeen, I'd order the kind of queen you want. When the queen arrives put a drop of water on the screen and go dequeen your hive that evening (before it's getting dark). Personally, I prefer to take a frame of brood and a frame of honey and put them in a two frame nuc so I can keep the queen around. You could also put them in a larger nuc if you don't have a smaller one, but I'd build a smaller one. That way you have a spare queen around if things go wrong.
The next morning, put the new queen in with the candy in the cage. You'll hear that acceptance is better if you get rid of the attendants, but if you're not good at manipulating queens and bees, it's more likely to cause you problems releasing them than it is likely to cause acceptance problems. I'd just leave them. Assuming your queen cage has candy, pull the stopper that blocks the candy and put the cage over the brood nest so the bees can eat out the candy and release the queen. Come back in four days and see how it went. If the queen isn't out yet, I'd just release her.
I used to try to requeen every other year. Now I don't bother unless the queen is failing. I have some queens that are three years old that are still my best queens.
There are a lot of factors. Anytime the hive is falling behind and the queen is old (or even if she's not old) and I don't see external factors involved, I'd requeen. If you use Apistan and Checkmite, you probably should requeen every year because the chemicals will shorten the queen's life anyway.
Some people requeen every spring because a young queen seldom swarms. I find, if I keep the brood nest from clogging up, they seldom swarm anyway, but I'm sure a young queen helps.
Some people plan to requeen every other year.
Some people use a managment strategy for the bees to requeen themselves every year. Like a cut down split and a recombine after the flow.
You have to consider what you think fits your view of beekeeping and go with that.
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