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Requeening in Autumn


#1

Our grumpy hive is getting quite out of hand, and has just attacked our gardener picking up a branch 10m away :(. As a soft hippy, I was planning on never killing my bees and letting them supersede themselves when required, but this is getting too much, as they are near our entrance gate and I don’t want anyone else getting attacked.

As we are in Autumn now in Perth and the laying seems to be winding down, although there is still a reasonable flow on. My question is is still possible to requeen or should I wait until spring?

The hive has heaps of honey, so my thought was to knock off the evil queen and stick in a frame of eggs/larvae from our nice hive for them to requeen from. My only concern is that when we checked the brood a couple of weeks ago the laying had reduced significantly and they were backfilling with nectar so I’m not sure how many eggs there will be. I guess I could always try and buy a queen, but I would probably prefer them to make their own.

These bees are the best honey producers we have and draw beautiful straight comb, but this is not a commercial property and our family live here - it has to change!! Any advice would be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Julia


#2

Obviously the title should be requeening - don’t u love autocorrect :slight_smile:


#3

Along as you still have drones and maybe some drone brood which is still to emerge you should be ok to let them make thier own. Assuming your have eggs/ larva the right age.
Mine were going strong until the end of April last year in Perth.


#5

Any drones visible in your hive? If so there should be drones in the local area so you should be able to get a queen mated. The other choice would be to buy a mated queen from a local supplier.

If you decide to go with your own queen, would your hive be strong enough to do a temporary split? You could take out a couple of frames of brood and nurse bees, make sure the queen is on one of them and put them in a nucleus box with a frame of honey/pollen (and 2 empty frames if it was a 5 frame nuc) for a month or so. Make sure the split is some distance from the original hive. If your existing hive makes a new queen, and you see eggs in the old hive at that time, you could dispatch your old queen and merge the other frames back into the hive. If the new queen never gets mated, you still have the old one to get the bees through the winter. Just a thought. :blush:


#6

In the autumn I feel queen mating is a bit hit and miss even if you have drones( it won’t be your drones doing the mating, remember)
The safest option is to order a new queen. Then you have to decide whether you put her in a nuc created an hour or so before you introduce her then unite the two colonies once she is laying( having done in the old queen) which I feel is an absolutely foolproof and safe method or go for introduction into the old hive. Even here you have two choices. Introduce her one hour after removing the queen or when the hive is hopelessly queenless


#7

I am not seeing drones around here but that’s not to say there aren’t any.
I just got an email from BW saying there are still queens available and the waiting time has dropped to one week. Or something like that.
Like you I would rather requeen using a frame of brood I just would be a bit hesitant at this time, I wouldn’t want a poorly mated queen.
My BW colony is one of the better ones and is the only one I have been able to harvest this year.


#8

Thanks all,

I am not seeing many drones around now - I think the unusually cold weather has started winter prep early here.

I too saw the BW advert yesterday, so will go with them. Will be nice to get some different genetics up here for splitting next year.

I guess my only decision now is how to do this. The colony is the strongest I have by far, with a chocker brood box, one full super of honey & a flow super which is still been worked. My original plan was to simply kill the queen and introduce the new one 24 hours later, but I could keep her in a Nuc for a little while until we know it has worked.

The other option of setting up the new queen in a Nuc first sounds interesting, I have not heard of that. Am I right in saying the plan would be to:

make a Nuc (2 frames of brood, 2 frames of honey) and move away from the main hive. After 24 hours add the queen.
Once I see eggs kill the old queen and wait 24 hours.
Do the paper method (2 sheet of newspaper) of recombining.

My fear is that I am combining a small number of bees with a huge number, but I guess people do this all the time.

I’ll get that queen ordered today and report back on what we do :).

Cheers all again,

Julia


#9

Sounds perfect, except I would only give them one frame of food, especially if they are only going to be apart for a period of less than 2 weeks. A full hive needs about a frame per week when there is no food coming in. A nucleus needs much less than this, so a frame should last a month or more.

I understand your fear of recombining, but as long as you have got rid of the old queen, you will have no trouble at all. I am sure it can fail, but it has never let me down doing it the newspaper way.


#10

Does AU have a varroa mite problem? I’m in Texas, USA and we are about to enter spring. I will be replacing my queens in April to get on top of the varroa problem. I use queens which are bred for hygienic properties so as to control varroa. One of last year’s queen is a Buckfast breed. That hive has been particularly nasty, and I will not miss her brood.


#11

We are in the lucky country/ state here with no varoa and no SHB - long may it last :slight_smile:


#12

So the goddess of bees has changed my plans as a swarm landed next to the arena today while I was riding my horse. Not the best timing, but no-one was stung and I now have a new swarm sitting in a box with one frame of honey. Assuming we havena laying queen in the next month (I may add a frame of brood tomorrow to be on the safe side), I will then dispatch the evil queen and recombine using this new swarm and the paper method. It will make a very strong hive going into winter, but we have a lot of honey stores and I will just have to remember to split early spring to reduce swarming.

I will update…
Cheers,

Julia


#13

Brilliant!


#14

Synchronicity for sure!


#16

My boy supervising the proceedings :slight_smile:


#18

Is your horse a descendent from Troubadour? He looks like him, he is retired now and lives on the East Coast. Moved from WA a year ago.


#19

Maddy is a beautiful Morgan horse I bought from Queensland a couple of years ago. We are a racehorse free family here - just not that good a riders to handle the crazy things :).

I was amazed by how unfazed our horses were by the swarm of bees. I walked Maddy right through them as they were forming on the railing and he didn’t care. He and our other horses then stood and watched us with bees buzzing around their heads. Maybe they know that swarming bees are calm bees!!!


#20

You are welcome over any time!. Might take a wee while to get here though :).