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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm working on an article about queens for my next Examiner column. Specifically, I'm writing in relation to the recent USDA/AIA prelim survey results and at the same time giving the readers a basic understanding of the queen's role in the hive.

The survey indicated that 10% of the beekeepers who lost hives attributed colony losses to "poor queens". This term isn't necessarily something that a non-beekeeper will understand (though they might guess). I also know what *I* think of when I hear "poor queen" but as a still-new beekeepers I take my knowledge with a huge grain of salt.

What I'd like to know is what others define as a "poor queen" - and this can be in terms of overwintering, or any other quality that makes her a poor queen. What are the characteristics of such a pauperish regent? Why can't such a problem bee get spotted and fixed before the winter?

If you prefer to PM me, that's fine. If you wish to remain anonymous, also say so - I will definitely honor such requests!

Thanks for your thoughts and definitions,

Shelley
 

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Not sure what "you" class as a poor queen but the following sure fits the bill:

- loose brood pattern (misses a lot of cells)
- lazy, poor layer ( not enough eggs)
- improperly mated (lays too many drones)
- hive is disorganized (not enough queen pheremone)
- produces aggressive / weak beess
- an older queen (+2 yrs)
 

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To that list I would also add:

Not readily accepted or
superseded quickly

which is important for commercial beeks who order lots of queens. Acceptance is the first step. If that doesn't take then you wasted your money. After that egg laying/brood pattern abilities are the second thing looked at then how the bees perform - honey gathering abilities, hygienic behavior, etc.
 

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Any queen that is less than what I will accept. Maybe the worst 5-10% of the queens in my hives, compared to the rest of the queens I have.

You will find a few great queens. (1 in 75 maybe) The vast majority of your queens will be your productions queens. They are not super good, and not super bad - just a consistent good that you can make money with. At the bottom are your 'poor' queens - queens below the minimum quality standard you are striving for.

I think it is a comparison to your other queens. We all want better stock. What someone with super good stock would consider a poor queen might be considered a good queen by someone with a lesser quality stock.
 

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Besides what MichelinMan said:
If this survey was in relation to wintering losses, and around here, queens don't lay in winter, I would have to say "dead" qualifies as a poor queen. In this part of the world, most everyone complained last summer that it was difficult to keep queens in the hive. Sometimes those problems in the summer create problems in the winter.

Roland
 

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Hi Shelly,

I could probably find better descriptions if
I had more time, but a quick search in the
historical archives finds a quote by Jay Smith;
an "authority on bees" from the early 20 century.

"The queen is the big determining factor
in the colony of bees. Her good or
bad qualities will be transmitted to the
hives..." -1928 Jay Smith

A good queen, having the desired qualities
known to promote colony productivity, would
be reflected in the bee colonies performance,
providing more honey production for the beekeeper.

Best Regards,
Joe
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/HistoricalHoneybeeArticles
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
See, this is why I reach out to experts - in my mind, I'd tied "poor queens" to low layers. There are far more characteristics than I suspected!

Thank you all for your replies - keep them coming if you have more.

Shelley
 
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