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Author Topic: Surprise...surprise!  (Read 3032 times)
ikeepbees
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« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2008, 11:38:31 AM »

Great picture, Bjorn.

I haven't actually found colonies with two queens, but have suspected many of them of being in that condition. I have all but given up trying to requeen strong colonies during the honeyflow because so often, although I have killed "the queen" prior to introduction, the new queen is rejected. There may be another reason or reasons for this, just my best guess.

I get a lot (close to 100%) of supersedure during the honeyflow in my colonies that don't swarm. I suspect that in at least some of them "Mama" is allowed to stick around for a while.
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Rob Koss

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BjornBee
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« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2008, 07:25:39 PM »

I get a lot (close to 100%) of supersedure during the honeyflow in my colonies that don't swarm. I suspect that in at least some of them "Mama" is allowed to stick around for a while.

I have followed this and studied feral colonies for some time now. And yearly replacement of queens is almost 100%. I have said, as you probably have heard a number of times  grin that it is very unlikely that queens reach 2-3-4 years in feral colonies. Mother nature dictates that young queens give certain advantages to survival through this selection process. Having, promoting, and managing to keep older queens, defeats many of the advantages that nature gives you.

I find double queens in about 10% of the hives depending upon time of the year.
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ikeepbees
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« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2008, 03:03:13 AM »

I certainly don't see any 3 year old queens in my hives - it is the rare colony that allows the queen to even make 2 full seasons. I've often wondered how other beekeepers manage to keep a queen for more than 2 years. I would have to cut supersedure cells all summer long to do that.

I am going to start looking for the second queen next Spring and see how many I can find.
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Rob Koss

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BjornBee
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« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2008, 05:53:04 AM »

Rob,
I agree.

I know some in the past have promoted keeping queens as long as one can. They labeled such supercedure as something to be associated with contaminated comb, etc. And I do think that bad comb can play into it.

But even with clean comb (and natural), mother nature still mandates that hives replace queens much sooner than traditionally thought or sought out by beekeepers. Once a beekeeper understands what nature gives you, ie. the power of first year queens, by better overwintering survival rates, overall quicker spring buildup and increased honey production the first spring a queen, etc., then these same advantages can be used by beekeepers. I do not include such items as v-mite suppression in this catagory, as v-mites should not of been an issue if not by man's hand, but we now know the power of brood breaks, that bees do create themselves when going through such queen replacement.

I also think that the more natural (longer) season of thre south, as bees are somewhat warm climate stock from traditional areas, also see the bees in a much more natural state where swarming and supercedure is along the lines of what they may do naturally, as dictated by millions of years of programming. What we do (in the north) is put them in colder areas with shorter seasons, and perhaps a shorter buildup period, then manage them to NOT swarm, and then think its best to have old queens around. Some will clip them to attempt to undo what nature dictates in giving the best survival odds. But it really goes against what nature is doing. And that is to give the best bees, the best odds, at survival. That's nature at it's best.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2008, 09:32:38 AM »

Ok, I understand that any wild hive will get a new queen because of swarming, pretty much every year.

Maybe I'm missing the point, but....
That queen that left with the swarm is now at least a 1 year old queen.  Or a 2 or 3 or 4 year old queen, depending how many times she's swarmed.  And she can still start a big successful hive.

The implications from this is that we should either not capture swarms or at least re-queen swarms immediately with new younger queens.  That doesn't make sense to me either.

Most of my hives do have young queens, and I'd never discourage supercedure.  I don't clip queens, but I do see the benefit, that way you don't have to go re-capture your bees off of your neighbors tree...at least you'll have a better idea of when they are swarming, if you aren't able to prevent swarming (and I'm not so far, thanks to my booming 2-queen hive!).

Rick
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jdpro5010
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« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2008, 03:48:57 PM »

I have always been told to re queen a swarm you catch so that you have a better idea what "genetics" you have.  I am not so sure about that myself.  I have also been told that almost all swarms supercede the old queen once the hive gets comfortable so to speak and have observed this myself with swarms I have caught.  This would then provide the swarm with a young queen to provide the build up needed in starting a new colony to make it through the winter.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2008, 08:27:37 PM »

I have always been told to re queen a swarm you catch so that you have a better idea what "genetics" you have.  I am not so sure about that myself.  I have also been told that almost all swarms supercede the old queen once the hive gets comfortable so to speak and have observed this myself with swarms I have caught.  This would then provide the swarm with a young queen to provide the build up needed in starting a new colony to make it through the winter.

For Example: If the swarm you just caught is from a feral bee colony that means it has survived all mothernature can throw at it, including mites, and is still going.  By requeening, you might known the genetics but you've just killed survivability. 

Statement: In this day & age of CCD and a host of other problems survivability is much preferred over known genetics.  You can get known genetics within a generatiion or 2, survivability, on the otherhand, only comes about the hard way.

Game Plan: If I had a swarm I knew was from a feral source I would do everything to further those genetics and survivability traits by doing walkaway splits or grafting queen cells from that stock. 
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BjornBee
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« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2008, 08:54:09 PM »

Scads,
My own stats along with information I have gathered by many conversations with others, is that swarms will likely replace a queen within 60 days of being issued.

I know many in the past mention replacing queens based on a "swarm trait' which I think is wrong.

Whether the queen is proven or not by some test of mother nature, that same mother nature also dictates that the best queen and the queen giving the established colony the best chance of survival, is the new queen in the original colony. Nature plays the odds all the time when it comes to survival and the BEST way of passing on the best genes. And mother nature dictates that the old "proven" queen be sent packing with the swarm, which should yell you something. Nature selected the best chance of survival with the new queen in the old hive. The lesser chance of survival, which is now the old queen being cast out with the swarm, is the one that nature has deemed expendable, with the least likely chance of survival.

I think mother nature knows exactly what it's doing. It sends out the old queen, and at the first chance it can, replaces the queen. Although this attempt is nature's way of bettering the odds, it is still secondary to what nature has dictated as the best odds, given to the original colony.

If you tally up the swarms with non-laying queens, the queens that disappeared after one caught the swarm, the colonies that died out after the swarm was captured, it would be a high rate of loss.

I don't buy into the notion that the queen with a swarm is proven, is of quality, or anything else. A swarm is to be monitored and dealt with as needed. And that is more times than not. If the swarm queen does fine, I do not automativally requeen her. But I just try to understand what nature just gave me, and what that may mean. And it's not usually her best, as she has shown by her own selection criteria.

What throws the numbers off are those secondary swarms that now have young queens, and actually have a better chance than the "proven" older queen in the primary swarm.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2008, 05:40:57 AM by BjornBee » Logged

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