Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I am looking to requeen hives started from packages this year. They have done really well, but I live up north, and I fear they will not do so well come winter. I have decided to use Russian hybrids that are locally grown in an apiary that specializes in these bees.

Questions:

  1. When should I requeen to best prepare for winter?
  2. What should I do with the old queens? They are fabulous Italian based mutts, so I hate to drop them in alcohol. Could a single hive body make it through winter if I were to use an 8 frame medium as a nuc?
  3. Should I take advantage of this operation to break the brood cycle for mites?

Thank you in advance for your wisdom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,680 Posts
Lots of bee different strains survive winters in your area just fine. Why do you think yours won't?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Lots of bee different strains survive winters in your area just fine. Why do you think yours won't?
It is more a matter of maximizing my chances for success. Local genetics, proven wintered stock, hygienic traits - for all these reasons, I plan to re-queen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Zbee, if you don't mind me asking, where do u plan on getting your Queen stock from? I am of the exact same mind set as you looking to go Russian with my nukes/requeening. Im over in PA but i think our climates or some what similiar.I'm still figuring out all the way to communicate on beesource so u can either PM or just reply on this thread, thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
791 Posts
Any where between now and august is fine. I'd get my queen now personally pull 2 frames of brood and a honey and place over the parent. Allow both queens to lay. Could even seperate them with queen excluder after new queen is laying well for 2 queen colony. Then somewhere in august dispatch old queen and combine. OR take old queen and pull a 4 frame nuc from the total unit and winter that old queen she might just survive your area. Nucs in your area will need 2 full frames of honey and 2, 3/4 full frames with just enugh room for cluster space.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
I had packages from NZ last year and they over wintered well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,371 Posts
Wintering bees successfully is more about preparation and planning than genetics. The bulk of my successfully wintered queens last winter came from Frostproof Florida and are of Italian derivation. Spend the same amount of effort doing sugar rolls to determine mite levels and using brook breaks now or chemicals later. Bees winter best on dark comb so put your most used brood comb in the upper box. Make sure the bees have adequate stores in the brood chambers for the winter early before wet fall weather may keep the bees from properly curing syrup or fall forage.

Not saying local queens may not be beneficial. Consider removing the existing queens with a couple frames of brood and letting the colonies raise a new native queen fathered by local survivor drones. Then if the queen rearing fails, you can recombine that successful queen who populated a colony and made a crop with the original hive. I just so hate to see good successful queens killed for replacements who have proved nothing and may not even be well mated. But what you want to do is currently stylish if that is important to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,680 Posts
Sticking in a Russian once a southern package gets establish is indeed in vogue right now. But I would consider:

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Any where between now and august is fine. I'd get my queen now personally pull 2 frames of brood and a honey and place over the parent. Allow both queens to lay. Could even seperate them with queen excluder after new queen is laying well for 2 queen colony. Then somewhere in august dispatch old queen and combine. OR take old queen and pull a 4 frame nuc from the total unit and winter that old queen she might just survive your area. Nucs in your area will need 2 full frames of honey and 2, 3/4 full frames with just enugh room for cluster space.
Absolutely brilliant idea. Had not considered this approach, but does seem to alleviate a lot of risk re-queening and hedges bet against who is best to survive the winter. Thanks for the pro tip!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi all,

Update: Drove and picked up 2 new Russian queens for 2 hives.

I took an empty 8 frame medium box (only use 8 frame mediums, no traditional NUCs), pulled 2 empty frames with frames of eggs/capped/emerging brood/bees/honey/pollen from the donor hive. Added a 2" shim to the box and placed queen cage opening side down in between those 2 frames. NUC is in the same bee yard, about 3 ft from donor hive. Buttoned it all up with a small entrance left open. Any foragers that were on the frames seem to have flown out and made their way back to the donor hive. Candy plug is exposed.

Plan: I will let the mini NUCs accept the new queen for a week, and look for signs of egg production. When she's ready, I plan place the whole box on top of the existing hives with a Double Screened Board. I then plan to leave that for awhile to allow the smells of a double queen hive to marinate while they both build out.

Then I plan to take the old queens out and seed and observation hive with one, and create a standby NUC for spare parts with the other. Remove the DSBs and swap the added NUC frames with frames from the brood chamber of the donor hives while moving honey frames into the box I added to covert it to a honey super.

I feel the added steps are necessary to maximize acceptance, especially with Russian queens taking over an otherwise Italian hive.

Questions:
Thoughts with this plan?
Should I supplement feed for the NUCs this week?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I checked in on the queens in these NUCs and am a little concerned. Bees were very defensive and over the queen shipping cage in a tight cluster. The candy was not fully removed, but I imagine it will be in a day or 2. Queen was still there moving around. Today is Day 4 from being introduced to the NUCs.

I added a quart of syrup with a heavy dose of Honey B Healthy to the NUCs to get them something to be occupied with and help diminish whatever pheromone is causing the defensive behavior. I will be out of town for a few days, so I am hoping I don't come back to a balled queen in the bottom of those NUCs.

I have never introduced queens before - anyone experienced care to weigh in on what is typical behavior?
 

·
Registered
About 40 Colonies
Joined
·
6,447 Posts
I checked in on the queens in these NUCs and am a little concerned. Bees were very defensive and over the queen shipping cage in a tight cluster. The candy was not fully removed, but I imagine it will be in a day or 2. Queen was still there moving around. Today is Day 4 from being introduced to the NUCs.

I added a quart of syrup with a heavy dose of Honey B Healthy to the NUCs to get them something to be occupied with and help diminish whatever pheromone is causing the defensive behavior. I will be out of town for a few days, so I am hoping I don't come back to a balled queen in the bottom of those NUCs.

I have never introduced queens before - anyone experienced care to weigh in on what is typical behavior?
Being on the queen cage isn't abnormal. Are they biting at the screen and stuck to it like Velcro? If they're going to accept her they should be easy to move with your finger. Are you positive you don't have the old queen from the donor hive in your nuc?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I thought the frames were queen free. Spent a couple minutes each frame looking it over. They were on pretty tight and rather pissy when I moved the cage to check on her. 2 frames out of 32... Probably just my luck. :(
 

·
Registered
About 40 Colonies
Joined
·
6,447 Posts
I thought the frames were queen free. Spent a couple minutes each frame looking it over. They were on pretty tight and rather pissy when I moved the cage to check on her. 2 frames out of 32... Probably just my luck. :(
It should be easy to figure out after four days or so. Whichever box has eggs is where the queen is. Have you looked in the other hive where you think the queen isn't? They'd be building queen cells by now I'd imagine.

I've introduced mated queens only a few times (this is my first year), but they were elated to see her each time. Kind of neat to see, honestly. I'd consider corking her or something so you don't think they're ready to accept her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
Me thinks you are over thinking - RI isn't "north."

I'm not saying what you're doing won't help - but proper winter prep seems more important.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
looking to go Russian with my nukes/requeening.
Just bear in mind that once the Russians crossbred with your local stock, you lose those resistant traits. So unless you plan on buying new queens each year that are pure russian mated, or just plan to hope input russian genetics for the long term hope of the traits coming back, you have that limitation to keep in mind.

Are they biting at the screen and stuck to it like Velcro? If they're going to accept her they should be easy to move with your finger.
This was my experience. When I could move the bees off with my finger, and they just moved out of the way without clinging, I released her and it was fine. For your future reference, I waited three days with one and 4 with another. I pulled frames to make nucs moments before putting my queen on a frame with open cells and emerging brood. No 24 hour queenless, and they readily accepted her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,064 Posts
I have 10 soon to be 20 Russian hives. I purchased my queens from Coy's. The offspring is very gentle and easily worked.
As for the problems of introduction of Russian queens into NON-Russian hives. Once you have verfied that your current queen has been completely Removed from the hive, or split. You insert the queen cage as it is shipped or handed to you. Do not remove candy cork end. Wait 3 days min, on morning of 4th day remove cork from candy end IF the bees are acting correctly with the queen. If not verify that there are No QUEEN cells that the bees have made, if so remove them and wait 1 day and check again. If at all possible it is best to intoduce the Russian queen into a NUC with NO open brood only emerging brood. It is all due to the fact that the russian queen pharamones are diff then the other races. ALL 10 of my first russians i did this way with 100% acceptance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you all for the insight. I'm out of town for next few days, so I will know one way or the other by this weekend. Fingers crossed!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi all,

Both queens have been released successfully into their mini NUCs, and both are still alive. On one of the NUCs, I saw 2 supercedure cups, but both were still empty. Few eggs, but nothing out of the ordinary. The bees seem to have calmed down considerably and have begun building comb on the adjacent frames.

I'll place the Double Screened Boards on the larger hives tomorrow and add these to the top to get acclimated.

Cannot say thank you enough to those who shared their thoughts and opinions. Ya'll are top notch!
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top