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Discussion Starter #1
OK, I have 2 production hives and 7 double deep nuc's. It was in the 70's yesterday here in SC, so I cracked the hives to have a peek. One of the double deep production hives was aggressive and I could not validate it was queen right. Being aggressive, I am sure it is queenless. Also one my Nuc's I believe to be queenless as there was a recently hatched queen cell and no signs of a laying queen. So I have two questions

1) If there is a virgin queen in the nuc, will she do a mating flight in the spring or is she doomed to laying drone's forever? There are no drones this time of the year!

2) If I assume I want to re-queen my double deep production hive with a queen from one of my nuc's, should I do it now or in the spring? I would pull a queen from a nuc and then combine the donor nuc with another nuc and have another production hive for the spring

I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts
 

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1) If there is a virgin queen in the nuc, will she do a mating flight in the spring or is she doomed to laying drone's forever? There are no drones this time of the year!
I do not think she will mate. I suspect the hive will collapse before spring from not creating any new workers all winter. The brood production slows way down during the winter, but it only stops for 1-2 months in most places.

2) If I assume I want to re-queen my double deep production hive with a queen from one of my nuc's, should I do it now or in the spring? I would pull a queen from a nuc and then combine the donor nuc with another nuc and have another production hive for the spring

I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts
Do it now, the production hive will probably not make it to spring without a queen
 

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1) If there is a virgin queen in the nuc, will she do a mating flight in the spring
No - virgins only have a time-window of a couple of weeks during which to mate.

or is she doomed to laying drone's forever?
If she survives the winter - yes - she will then be a drone layer, and will keep producing drones as the colony decreases in size until it finally becomes non-viable.

2) If I assume I want to re-queen my double deep production hive with a queen from one of my nuc's, should I do it now or in the spring?
I would suggest now - but only providing you can be confident that the hive is actually queenless, and not cranky for some other reason.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No - virgins only have a time-window of a couple of weeks during which to mate.


If she survives the winter - yes - she will then be a drone layer, and will keep producing drones as the colony decreases in size until it finally becomes non-viable.


I would suggest now - but only providing you can be confident that the hive is actually queenless, and not cranky for some other reason.
LJ
Thanks to both of you guys. I am going to do the Palmer queenless test by placing the caged queen on top of the hive and observe the workers behavior towards the cage. If I am convinced it is queenless I will do a slow release to ensure acceptance.
 

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Just an update. My "Queenless Nuc" Wasn't queenless at all. Found her today. Not sure if she hatched recently and is a virgin and will remain so, but the hive seems happy so I left well enough alone. If it collapses, I can use the resources else where.

Production hive was hot again today. Caged a queen and layed it on top of the hive and it appeared the colony was accepting of her. Put candy in the end of the cage and put her in for a slow release. Will check in a few days
 

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So, I went and did an inspection yesterday to confirm that the Queen I moved to the queenless production hive took, and she did, however, I saw something that I wasn't expecting in the two nuc's that I combined. The colony had completely eaten it's way through the lower Deep and was working it's way through the top Deep. The number of bee's was about 4 frames. I was surprised they had consumed so much stores in a week and that the colony numbers had shrank so significantly in just a week. Do ya think the combination was a failure and half of the bee's absconded without the queen? Do ya think the stress from the combine made them start eating or maybe they took the stores with them somewhere else?

Anyhow, added top hive feeder and gave them 3 gallons of syrup. We'll see what happens
 
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