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Is February too early to start Autumn mated queens off?


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I had a few issues last year. I should have requeened a couple of hives that had some old queens in them. Due to some health issues my wife was having it got put on the back burner, and the queens went through another winter and the hives tried to supercede end of august/early september. Way too early down here IMO. One was fine, but the other had issues with what was probably a poorly mated queen and it took a couple of frames of eggs to get them to have another go. This year I want to do autumn mating. Do I need to make it late as possible or will it not matter if I start the process this month? I don't think 6-8 weeks is going to make all that much difference.

From reading this forum, it sounds as if Autumn matings was the normal way to do things. But as a newbie, I had gotten the impression that spring was when things had to be done.

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If cell raising during a honey flow then it pays to put a frame of foundation a frame or two away from the cells. This gives them something to do and they normally leave the cells alone. Autumn r

Go for it!

We’ve started re queening. As @Otto said, with the flow drying up due to drought the drones will Be the first to go. 

29 minutes ago, Markypoo said:

I had a few issues last year. I should have requeened a couple of hives that had some old queens in them. Due to some health issues my wife was having it got put on the back burner, and the queens went through another winter and the hives tried to supercede end of august/early september. Way too early down here IMO. One was fine, but the other had issues with what was probably a poorly mated queen and it took a couple of frames of eggs to get them to have another go. This year I want to do autumn mating. Do I need to make it late as possible or will it not matter if I start the process this month? I don't think 6-8 weeks is going to make all that much difference.

From reading this forum, it sounds as if Autumn matings was the normal way to do things. But as a newbie, I had gotten the impression that spring was when things had to be done.

Go for it!

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February is a great time to get queens mated down here. Usually plenty of warm and settled weather and drones are still being tolerated. Down here (Dunedin) hives can start kicking their drones out in March, although this is often only some hives and not all.

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If cell raising during a honey flow then it pays to put a frame of foundation a frame or two away from the cells. This gives them something to do and they normally leave the cells alone.

Autumn re-queening. I'm only talking for Hawke's Bay here but I imagine a lot of the country is similar.  If you start to early you can get poor results probably because they can end up swarming. I normally start around 15 February and personally would never re-queened beyond 15 March  and I prefer to finish by the end of February. I re-queen the areas that are doing least first as they will lose their drones earliest. This varies from year to year depending on rainfall et cetera. This year it is the dry areas that need doing first. In a wet year it's the other way round. The one exception I make to 15 February is when we have a severe drought year i.e. everything is burnt right up before Christmas and in that type of year I would normally start about 1 February. If the bees keep getting a flow then you can mate queens right up till the end of April but you never know what the weather is going to do.. Those late matings sometimes don't even start to lay until spring . Autumn re-queening suits me and what I do. Spring re-queening can be fantastic and it can be really awful. I suppose you could say the same thing about autumn but  in general the weather is more settled. I have seen a few absolute disasters re-queening in autumn due to crappy weather but nothing like what I've seen in spring. At least if something goes wrong in autumn you have the spring to fix it up.

 

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