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Author Topic: Girls gone wild  (Read 2148 times)
Rabbitdog
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Location: Lynchburg, VA


« on: April 18, 2005, 11:32:59 AM »

I had a strange experience this weekend.  My #1 and #2 hives were the top producers last year.  They were also reasonably calm.  This year, they are the crankiest of 9 colonies.  They were difficult to check out last week and I couldn't even get through the #2 frame by frame.
I was tilling the garden (about 50 feet away) and they kept coming at me aiming for the back of my head.  They never did this before.  One finally connected, so I changed to a white hat to see if that would help.  It didn't.  I finally had to quit running the tiller.  At first, I thought maybe the vibrations through the ground might be upsetting them.  We don't have africanized problems in Va.
I read some similar posts on this and am thinking I should requeen.  Both queens are more than a year old.
Here's the question.  I have 2 other colonies that are just as gentle as possible.  I would like to get a queen from them if possible.  Can I simply destroy the queens in #1 and #2, wait three or four days, then introduce some egg frames from the gentle colonies?
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2005, 11:48:14 AM »

Just doing some investigation here to check out a hunch. Is there any indication that the hives are about to swarm?

I just read some place else that some ones hive was calm and suddenly turned mean and then it appears to have swarmed and they were calmer.

 I got some bees out of a wall as they were trying to swarm and they were mean, but they are really calm now that it is over. That's calmed and not requeened.
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Robo
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2005, 11:52:26 AM »

Your going to find some folks here that will say "yes", just give them some eggs.  I personally don't use it or recommend it.  They will be raising an "emergency" queen.  At that point, they don't tend to be too fussy about the age of the egg they use,  they just need a queen.   Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. With this method,  your "sometimes it doesn't" chances are higher.  Furthermore,  by the time they raise a queen and she mates,  you are looking at upwards to a month and a half that brood rearing will be halted.   You will definately be hurting your colony this way,  and potentially really setting them back if a queen does not work out.    
Personally I think you are risking a lot for a $10-15 investment in a quality queen.
You can certainly try raising queens from you calm hives,  but don't put you hot hives in jeopardy until your new queens are laying and can take the place of your older queens.
Any time you make a queen-right colony queenless, you are risking their future.
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Rabbitdog
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2005, 02:57:33 PM »

Jerrymac,
They do not appear to be ready to swarm.  I am only a 3rd year beekeeper, so don't put much value in how things 'appear' to me.  However, I didn't see any queen cells last week (I do know queen cells though) Tongue
Robo,
I don't really mind if the hive is set back a bit.  I have more honey than I currently have customers (but I don't actively sell or advertise).  But you mention some good points and I definitely don't want to loose these two hives.  I think I'll check the journal tonight and see what queens are available.  
Thanks
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Robo
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2005, 07:33:08 AM »

Rabbitdog,

Raising your own queens is not out of the question.  I just wouldn't recoomend the method you described.  Your hives are in no current danger since they have queens and I assume are being productive.  So other than dealing with them being mean in the interim,  there is no reason not to give queen rearing a try.   Here is a link to how I do it.
Queen Rearing

Although I use the Nicot system,  hand grafting can also be used.  By using a couple of double screen boards,  you don't have to dispose of your old queen until you are satisfied with your newly raised one.  I like this, because queen rearing is by no means 100% and using this method,  I am no worse off then when I started (can always fail back to original queen).
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Rabbitdog
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2005, 11:53:45 AM »

Awesome.  Thanks for the info.
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