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Author Topic: Queen characteristics  (Read 1726 times)
Kris^
Field Bee
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Location: Williamstown, NJ


« on: June 24, 2005, 07:18:14 AM »

In the two months since I installed the package, hive 4 has grown to the point where it is probably just as strong as the splits from my overwintered hive, and I've loaded a second super on it for the bees to work on.  The other new start (hive 3) this year is keeping more along the pace of my hive's initial development last year.  I can only suppose that this is because the queen in hive 4 is particularly prolific.

Since I'm looking to requeen at least one hive this fall, my question is whether a queen raised from eggs/brood out of hive 4 would likely carry the queen's prolific characteristics.  Or would it be more likely that mating such a daughter-queen would dilute this characteristic?

-- Kris
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Phoenix
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Location: Middle of The Great Lakes State, Milford, MI


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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2005, 11:36:04 AM »

I think your jumping to conclusions a little to early.  Here are a few thoughts to ponder...  
The colony can only rear the amount of brood they can cover.  If the packages are of differing strength, the stronger pachage will appear to be more prolific, because they can cover more brood.  Also you have to consider whether or not they were both on foundation, if so, again the size and age of the workforce will dictate the amount of foundation they will be able to pull, and if they store more nectar and pollen in those newly drawn cells the queen will have less space to lay.

In order to assess the queens attributes a little better, the colony needs to be established a little longer.  You can balance out the workforce a little more evenly by swapping the locations of the hives, therefore allowing the foragers of a stronger colony to come back to the weaker hive, and vice versa.  Keep track of the progress of each hive a little longer to make a better decision come fall.
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Kris^
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Location: Williamstown, NJ


« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2005, 01:50:03 PM »

Both hives 3 and 4 were installed from packages within 15 minutes of each other, on Rite-Cell foundation.  Both packages were shipped from Rossman.  The package that went into hive 3 had noticeably more bees initially, and actually seemed stonger for the first month or so.  But that changed in the last 2 or 3 weeks.  I have noticed that the queen in hive 3 seems smaller and scrawnier than the queens in my other hives.  Not that I'm saying hive 3 is deficient or anything; taken by itself, it's doing as well as I would expect a first year hive to do.  It's just that #4 is doing much better than I would have expected.

Here is one other difference: when I inspected about a month ago, the queen was laying in the second brood box of both hives, with plenty of empty comb in the lower boxes.  In hive 3, I shuffled some frames around between boxes to move the queen down and move some empty frames up.  When I got to hive 4, it was getting late, so I simply reversed the boxes.  Other than that, they were treated pretty much the same.  They took pretty much equal amounts of syrup when I was feeding them, and I removed the feeders at the same time.  The two hives sit 4 or 5 feet from each other.

My wondering really is this: since I'll probably requeen hive 2 this fall, because it has a second year queen in it, would it be to my benefit to try to raise a queen from hive 4 stock, or would it be just as well to buy one?  Given also that I like to experiment and get my hands dirty . . .

-- Kris
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