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Requeening - how often, when?


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So as a newbie, I have now got over the reluctance to squish a queen and replace her. How often should I replace queens? Pop a new one in each spring, or make new queens in feb/march, after the main flow has finished so the hive has a new queen going into autumn. Or buy one then when they are easier to get hold of, which is again late summer? Requeening in autumn/late summer seems to be the easiest option to me and should still give a relatively young queen to get going in spring.

I banked a couple of queens in nucs over winter, which was useful when a mate needed one.

I got myself in trouble with one hive, as I left the queen in far too long. She was my best producing hive by far. I got 2 winters out of her and they decided to supercede in August, before there many drones around, or even warm enough temperatures. A month before I had planned to split the hive. Though luckily I had a spare sitting a nuc which went in okay, but I am kicking myself for not making new queens out her when I had the chance.

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I worked a site of 22 today that I was a week late to last round and they had started the process, I usually cut all cells (shake frames) and leave eggs and remove queen.. if they’re beyond the point

Even that’s not full proof. I had a hive that I took the queen and a split off go up a tree a couple of weeks ago..... just when you think you’ve got it sorted they teach you a new trick. 

trouble is the bees are known to confuse the two. just because they only do a couple of supercedure cells doesn't mean it won't swarm. made that mistake many times. best bet is to make the hive q

I replace mainly for temper or poor performance . 
 

My hives supercede quite regularly which seems to work ok . 
 

The exception to that is if the hive is poor when it supercedes, it seldom produces a better queen so your better to give them a hand 

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39 minutes ago, Markypoo said:

I guess I am worried that in spring I may not be able to tell the difference between supercedure or swarming.

 

Swarm cells are mostly on or near the bottom of the frames or on the edge of a damaged piece of comb, there will be heaps of them.

supersedure cells are normally on the face of the comb and there will only a few. 

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2 hours ago, nikki watts said:

Swarm cells are mostly on or near the bottom of the frames or on the edge of a damaged piece of comb, there will be heaps of them.

supersedure cells are normally on the face of the comb and there will only a few. 

I ran on that theory last year.  One or 2 cells in a hive. Centre of frames. Left them thinking it was supersedure.. a little later on I had a swarm in my tree.

 

I now run with Matt's point.  This time of year. Remove them. Figure it out later.  So far its working

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With my admittedly limited experience, I had a hive that I know I squashed the queen. An untimely sting on the inner thigh when a bee crawls in a tear in your overalls while replacing a frame doesn't encourage gentle placement. The replacement cells were on the bottom of the frames. But only because the centre was a mass of capped brood and I presume the most suitable larvae were around the edges of that. Typically, being a newbie I tend to get a wee flutter of panic when I see them

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22 hours ago, nikki watts said:

Swarm cells are mostly on or near the bottom of the frames or on the edge of a damaged piece of comb, there will be heaps of them.

supersedure cells are normally on the face of the comb and there will only a few. 

trouble is the bees are known to confuse the two. just because they only do a couple of supercedure cells doesn't mean it won't swarm. made that mistake many times.

best bet is to make the hive queenless, either move the queen away or knock her off. however that comes at a price of lack of laying until new queen gets up and going. 

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I re-queen half my hives every year starting about 15 February and ideally I like to finish by 15 March. Re-queening too early in the autumn can be as bad or worse as doing it too late. Some years if you start re-queening to early the queenless hives will swarm when the cell hatches. It's also a mistake to make too strong a split in the spring as they can swarm as well.

This time of year if I see a hive superseding I will kill the old Queen if I have time and leave one cell behind or if she Is still laying all right I might cut out all the cells and when she has another go at superseding hopefully the swarming season will be passed. It's very noticeable when I come to find and kill the two-year-old queens in autumn that areas that have not done well will have a lot more supersedure queens than those that have had a good honey crop over the summer. I only select and breed from queens that have done two seasons and I can see no difference in average production between one year and two year queens and the autumn queens swarm worse in the spring then the older ones as often as not.

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For me, queens will do a couple of seasons although the colony is smaller in the second season and there's a greater chance of swarming. Supercedure queens can be good; If the colony starts to supercede too early in the season, you may be lucky and delay it a couple of weeks if you remove the queencells which will then be late enough for the new queen to mate - if there are no drones in hives, then it's too early in the season.

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