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I'm going to be doing quite a bit of queen rearing this year hopefully. I have about 15 hives with queens of various ages going right now. I would like to replace all of them with fresh queens. When is the best time of the season to do this? In years past my first maple pollen shows up around mid to late March, and I have grafted around April 15th for the first go around. My flow is pretty much done by early August , unless the farmers let the third alfalfa cutting go for some reason.

I don't want to mess with the spring population turnover too much, is it best to wait for the honey flow and use my first round of queens for nucs and splits and then requeen on the flow? Should I wait to the fall and requeen with post solstice queens, and only replace obviously failing ones earlier? Is requeening every year a bit overkill? It just seems like it would help to have everyone be of uniform age. Thanks.
 

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I would move any potential breeder queens to small nucs and let them live on. Other than that I would replace any that aren't performing. I'm not completely settled on requeening every hive every year but definitely every production hive should get a new queen.
 

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What are your goals?

Do you want to sell bees (queens and nucs)? Do you want to make honey?

Honey production is my main focus. I follow Michael Palmer's technique and break down unproductive hives for nucs and new queens to be used the following year; I know by mid-to-late April which ones those are. Many of those get queens from producers whose queens I want to evaluate. The ones that make the cut are next year's drone mothers.

As for re-queening, I do that in the "fall", about 10 days after I pull honey. Average hives get requeened; top producers get marked for raising queens off of next year.
 
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