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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've decided to requeen my hives. The ones I have are just too darn aggressive... and it seems to be genetics.

So when I go searching for all those old queens... what should I do with them?

I've read about storing them in an alcohol solution for swarm lures.

Unfortunately, I don't have another yard I can move these hives to right now... they are fantastic producing bees, lots of honey... but I can't even stand in the front yard, 250ft+ away and out of sight... without getting buzzed.

So... what to do... kill them and toss away, store them in alcohol (can I get away with rubbing alcohol?)???
 

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Kill them i.e Off with their heads. feed them to your chickens if you have any.
Also pinch them now. wait a week then remove all queen cells in your hives then put the new queen in.
best of luck.
 

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I would kill them and wait 4-8 hours, then install the new queens with the candy corks pulled out. I've done a couple of them that way and it seems to work fine. :D
 

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If they are that aggressive you might want to let them work through the candy plug naturally. Considering all the threads on the forum that lost queens from direct and rapid releases this year, slow is still the way to go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ya, I planned to let them release her on their own... remove the queen, give them 24 hours queenless, then introduce the new ones.

I've also read it's good to have a bucket of water on hand... if they try to ball the queen, pick up the cage (with a gloved hand) and drop it in the water... pull the queen cage out and set it aside... give the hive another day or two.
 

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You can put the old queens in a small bottle of rubbing alcohol. They make a good swarm lure.

I've also read it's good to have a bucket of water on hand... if they try to ball the queen, pick up the cage (with a gloved hand) and drop it in the water... pull the queen cage out and set it aside... give the hive another day or two.

I have no idea why anyone would do this, or why anyone would even recommend this. So what if bees ball a queen cage? That's what a cage is for. It keeps the queen in as much as it keeps aggressive bees out. By the time the bees have ate through the candy plug and can get at the queen, they should have accepted the new queen and are no longer trying to ball her.

Balling the queen becomes a problem if you are direct releasing the queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have no idea why anyone would do this, or why anyone would even recommend this. So what if bees ball a queen cage? That's what a cage is for.
I was slightly mistaken... bees will ball if the queen is released and they don't accept. Leaving her in the cage for a few minutes prior to release is a quick way to check.

As for the water recommendation... Allen Dick mentioned it on his blog back in May (Friday May 7th... scroll down here: http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/2010/diary050110.htm)

When releasing queens, I open the hives and lay the queens in cages on the top bars. I return in five minutes and try shaking the adhering bees off the cages. If the bees come off easily that is a good sign. If the bees really cling, and especially if any are doubled up in stinging position, there will be problems.

I ignored that signal in one case and had a queen balled. I had no water to drop the ball into and, in separating the bees, the queen lost a front l leg. She will be released and lay, since I broke down the cells which I knew must be there from the bees' behaviour, but then will be superseded soon. No matter, I want the genetics she will bring.
 

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>they are fantastic producing bees, lots of honey...

I'm unclear why you want to reuqeen them... but I drop the old ones into a jar of alcohol. Of course if you only have a few hives, I'd put them aside in a small nuc or an empty box. If you don't have extra equipment, you need to buy some. You are a beekeeper right? What would you do if they swarmed?
 

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You are a beekeeper right? What would you do if they swarmed?

They could always do what a local beekeeper did Wednesday. His bees swarmed and since he didn't want any more hives, he called me to come get the swarm. He said he was planning on putting a super on that hive but hadn't gotten around to it.

He had been keeping bees for 35 years, and it was the biggest swarm he's ever seen. It was at least 10 pounds, by my guess.

After 2 days in a TBH, they have 12 or 13 combs the size of my hand drawn out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I take my old queens and put them in nuc boxes with a frame or two of brood. They make for good insurance in case a queen doesn't take or protection from winter kill. Puting them in nucs slows down their egg laying and for me anyway helps to give them more longevity.
I've contemplated this... except my current bees are MEAN! I hate to get rid of producing queens, but when I can't walk in the backyard 100ft from the hives for fear of getting nailed in the head... I've gotta do something. And they're almost as bad in the front yard.

I'm also going to explore this weekend and see if I can find anyone local who will let me put an outyard on their property... if I can split the hives, take the old queens (with mean genetics) to the new location, and keep the new stock with gentle temperment at my home site... that would be ideal.

And once the new queens have populated the hive with fresh genetics, and the old drones have died off... I can look at producing some queens to requeen the mean outyard...

...assuming I can find somewhere to put a new outyard.
 
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