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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it proper to get a year old queen in a nuc? I see some are referred as new queens, a local beek says they use proven year old queens that you will need to requeen either this fall or next spring. Is there a standard? Thanks
 

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The standard is honesty.

You should ask honest questions and they should provide honest answers.

Some people sell overwintered queens because they are "proven" while others sell young queens. If the queen in the overwintered is one was raised in the fall you might be OK. Otherwise young queens will give you the best longevity. Purchasing an "over summered" queen that is ripely primed to swarm when the flow hits is not my idea of a prudent way of walking into a season raring and ready to go...
 

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Honey-4-All. Could you explain the "over summered" queen primed to swarm more please? I'm trying to learn about swarm BEHAVIOR (not strictly from a swarm PREVENTION angle), I thought the swarm impulse was due to overcrowding/brood nest reduction (such as through backfilling). One would think a nuc would still be in establish mode, given enough room. Curious to learn how a queen's age promotes swarming. Pheromones? Thanks.
 

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An overwintered nuc will have a queen from last year. This is the best nuc to get in my opinion. An overwintered nuc will build up faster than anything and should give you a full honey crop the same year. A nuc with a young queen are nucs made up this year and given a newly mated queen. This nucs tend to take a little longer to build up because they are still trying to get established. Any way you go, nucs are a great way to get started.
 

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Honey-4-All. Could you explain the "over summered" queen primed to swarm more please? I'm trying to learn about swarm BEHAVIOR (not strictly from a swarm PREVENTION angle), I thought the swarm impulse was due to overcrowding/brood nest reduction (such as through backfilling). One would think a nuc would still be in establish mode, given enough room. Curious to learn how a queen's age promotes swarming. Pheromones? Thanks.
I'm sure their are studies out there that explain this. Help me out JWChestnut if you may. ( or anyone else) First of all I want to preface with my experience.. A spring package does better on average than a spring nuc for whatever reason. Always do. As to how a spring package compares to a "fall" queened nuc vs prior "spring" nucs I can not say from my own observation. My insight says the older the queen is the higher the propensity for the "hive" (Package, nuc, whatever) to swarm when the spring flow shows up. Is this because of diminishing pheromones I can not say but my guess would be yes...

Please keep in mind that the propensity of current year spring Russians to swarm in the same year ( raised in April swarm in late May or early June) has been observed by many folks. Using them in a study would skew the results if put in a mix of Italians and Carni's.

Sorry this is an incomplete answer but with out a slew of studies behind me to pour on your lap I really am at a loss to claim anything more...
 

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Yes there are some studies on pheromones and likelyhood of swarming that say older queens are more likely to swarm. Yet I never requeen unless they are failing and I have marked queens that are four years old... so if that was really significant, all of my hives would have swarmed. But they have not.
 

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Brother Adam always said a queen does her best work in her second year. I agree. An overwintered queen would be my preference...
Brother Adam is and was on my highly elevated folks in beekeeping to admire and emulate. If he was keeping bees in my location in 2014 I have a sense that he might wake up and change his mind on this issue though. Queens do NOT last 5 years anymore. 3 at the outset and less than 2 generally. All the virus and bacteria issues eating at their health make it pretty tough on them... Around here new queens each year are the watchword. If you put your hopes on old queens you will be staring at a fairly large dead out pile in short order.

Many folks think I say this to sell queens. Nothing farther from the truth as we would be way better of $ wise with the old days in hand. Replacing our own queens is far from free or cheap...
 

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I'm sure their are studies out there that explain this. Help me out JWChestnut if you may. ( or anyone else) First of all I want to preface with my experience.. A spring package does better on average than a spring nuc for whatever reason. Always do. As to how a spring package compares to a "fall" queened nuc vs prior "spring" nucs I can not say from my own observation. My insight says the older the queen is the higher the propensity for the "hive" (Package, nuc, whatever) to swarm when the spring flow shows up. Is this because of diminishing pheromones I can not say but my guess would be yes...

Please keep in mind that the propensity of current year spring Russians to swarm in the same year ( raised in April swarm in late May or early June) has been observed by many folks. Using them in a study would skew the results if put in a mix of Italians and Carni's.

Sorry this is an incomplete answer but with out a slew of studies behind me to pour on your lap I really am at a loss to claim anything more...
I found this to be true in three year old queens not two. Two year old queens or in the prime of there life. And Me personally have never seen a package outperform a properly made spring nuc. Usually in my area a spring nuc will almost keep up with a production hive and a overwintered nuc will pass up a production hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everybody, just having somebody to ask and get their experiences sure beats the library from when I was a kid.
 

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Thanks, from me as well. Just to be clear, in no way was I questioning anyone's beliefs or experiences. I'm just trying to learn from those of you with much more knowledge and experience.
My experience so far: A 2013 California origin package (Italian) swarmed a month or two after I hived it (with almost no feeding of syrup: we seemed to have a strong flow and they wouldn't take it). Meanwhile, two overwintered 2012 queens (June mated, purchased in July) produced surplus honey as requeened second year colonies that same season. A nuc, made from bees returning from almonds, and given a 2013 spring queen built into a 2 deep hive, but didn't produce a surplus. I lost one of the 2012 queens to residual mite damage this January, the other is building strongly already, and am hoping she's the layer she was last year.
 

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hi, I have a lot of swarms, I am sure my stock of bee has a little to do with it. but so far this year we are having a good spring honey flow, I had a double deep that came through the winter very well, really strong, on 4-1-14 I split it took 9 frames of brood and bees put in their own hive notched 1 frame and let them raised their own queen. left the year old queen on the old stand and put an empty deep on them, 4 day,s ago they swarmed, I saw them come out. so I hived the swarm[ love that queen] and set it on the old stand, it was a very large swarm so I went ahead and gave it a second deep of foundation, the bottom deep was drawed comb. yesterday the other half swarmed with a newley hatched queen, I saw them come out, so much for swarm control. but there mine and I like them
 

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hi, I have a lot of swarms, I am sure my stock of bee has a little to do with it. but so far this year we are having a good spring honey flow, I had a double deep that came through the winter very well, really strong, on 4-1-14 I split it took 9 frames of brood and bees put in their own hive notched 1 frame and let them raised their own queen. left the year old queen on the old stand and put an empty deep on them, 4 day,s ago they swarmed, I saw them come out. so I hived the swarm[ love that queen] and set it on the old stand, it was a very large swarm so I went ahead and gave it a second deep of foundation, the bottom deep was drawed comb. yesterday the other half swarmed with a newley hatched queen, I saw them come out, so much for swarm control. but there mine and I like them
Yep,Just about the time you think you've got CONTROL, they say watch this, LOL,Got to love it.Mark,,,,
 

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hi, in my previous post what I was trying to say was that in my case or in a lot of cases the age of a one week or one year old makes no difference, they want to reproduce and they know that it is the time to do that. regardless of age or room. just my humble obersavation over the years
 
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