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Author Topic: The devil you know and the devil you don't  (Read 1213 times)

Offline TwoHoneys

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The devil you know and the devil you don't
« on: July 17, 2011, 08:53:08 AM »
All of the 14 hives under my care currently have queens. Two of those are 3-year survivors, but I don't know how the others will overwinter (several came from swarm captures and a couple from cut-outs). Some queens came with packages from Georgia, and others came with packages from California.

I've not been pleased with the overwintering success of queens that come with the packages, but several this year seem to be doing a great job.

Though I plan to begin rearing my own queens, I haven't yet started.

MY QUESTION: I have the opportunity to get my hands on some queens with good reputations...should I? They're not local, but they come from climates colder than those in packages (they're from Zia Queenbee in New Mexico). If I get these queens, how should I choose which hives to re-queen?

Or, rather than re-queening a hive, would you try overwintering these Zia queens in nucs?

"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin

Offline mwiehn

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Re: The devil you know and the devil you don't
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2011, 10:45:29 AM »
Hi Liz - I am north of you in Indy, so slightly colder winters, but otherwise similar climates. I have had Zia queens in the past and just installed three more. I love them. They are hardy, know how to make a honey crop, easy to work and I suspect they also handle varroa better than most. In my opinion you can't go wrong with adding them to your yard. With that said, I would not requeen a normal size hive. I made that costly mistake in the past. I would put them in nucs and overwinter them in the nucs, or requeen your hives with them using the entire nuc once they had a chance to build a strong five frame nuc. I found by removing the old queen from a hive and introducing the new queen in her queen cage didn't work for me at all. They release her ok, but it seems as if the neq queen can't get to egg laying speed fast enough for such a big hive that they perceive her as failing or defective and promptly supercede her. I found t safer to get her started in a nuc, let her fill the nuc to a strong size and than requeen the hive with the nuc unit.  And as I sai, the other option would be to overwinter them in the nuc, I have done that myself and had no problems with it. I had a very strong nuc in the spring to replace dead-outs way before any nucs were available to buy from the south. Zia queens get my two thumbs up. Not to mention that Melanie at Zia queen is super nice to deal with.

Good luck, Liz.

Offline D Coates

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Re: The devil you know and the devil you don't
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2011, 04:06:55 PM »
I second Kim's findings.  I learned that lesson the hard way last year.  Now if you can introduce a Queen cell a day or two after killing off the queen I've had better luck with that.  You got to stay on top to sure she makes it back during he mating flight.  That can be trouble if you don't have a queen cell to replace her ASAP.  I now grow my own Queens from grafts or walk away double nuc splits and sometimes keep swarm queens in overwintered nucs.  When Spring rolls around you can drop those nucs into dead-outs or if a hive Queen is getting swarmy you can remove her and 3 frames of brood and pollen and drop an overwintered nuc and you keep your strong hive and have a nuc to requeen later if so desired.
Ninja, is not in the dictionary.  Well played Ninja's, well played...