Re-Queening Hive 1 At My Dad's House

In addition to the new queen for my hive this weekend, we got a second one to re-queen the Hive 1 at my dad's house.

This hive over-wintered with lots of capped honey, pollen and nectar. We opened them earlier in the season, and found they still had a lot of stores, but now that it's spring time, the queen is struggling to get brood going on the face of two frames. We're almost certain the queen is failing for some reason.

Prior to introducing a new queen, we found and pinched the old queen a day in advance.

We took two frames of bees from my house to join with Hive 1 and increase the population of the hive, since they were down to just two frames of bees.

Below you can see the new queen in her cage being introduced to the colony. We pushed two frames together and held the cage in place. The wire you see on either side of the queen cage is there to help us hold the cage while we lowered it into place.

We'll come back in a few days and see if they released the new queen.  We expect to see her released and laying lots of eggs and bringing this hive back to full population!

Comments For This Post: (3) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Holly says...
Date:   April 10, 2012, 5:47 pm

I'm curious as to why you order queens versus pinching the old queen and letting the bees raise a supercedure queen?  This is only my 3rd year beekeeping, but with all the expenses, I would probably just let them supercede.  Is that a bad way to go?  What are the advantages and disadvantages? 

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   April 10, 2012, 8:21 pm

I'm usually all for gaining survivor stock by supersedure queens, especially when the colony is gentle and easy to work with. Those preferred qualities (and free!!) are obvious advantages. :)

In the case of Hive 1 at my dad's house, the queen was failing to lay even a tennis ball sized amount of brood after several months of trying. I failed to mention in the post above, but there was only 100-200 bees (at the most!) in the hive. She was only laying a few eggs a day, and we weren't sure the eggs were even "good" eggs that could be used to make a viable replacement queen.

We figured the best chance of reviving this hive would be to replace the old queen with a new, young queen who's ready to lay eggs right away.

The queen was released from her cage yesterday, and we'll check them again this weekend to make sure she's laying and (hopefully) bringing the population of the hive back up to a level where they'll survive.

John says...
Date:   April 13, 2012, 3:06 pm

It's never a bad idea to replace a queen in the spring.  But, the hive came through the winter with a real weak cluster.  The queen won't lay any more eggs than she has workers to supports.  So, I'd expect the new queen to have a pretty small brood pattern also until the hive builds some strength.  If you have more surplus frames of brood you can steal from your hive it will help.  But give them capped brood if you do.

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