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Author Topic: Queen Evaluation  (Read 1937 times)
RHBee
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« on: October 08, 2013, 07:06:11 AM »

During this time of year, what criteria do you use to evaluate a queen? I have a mixture of Italian and Russian bees. Some of my queens are laying heavily, others are not, one has a spotty pattern. Is there any hard and fast rule that covers all races?
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Moots
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 07:49:50 AM »

My "guess" would be it's not the time of year to be evaluating queens.  But hey, I'm a newbie, so I may be wrong.
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10framer
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 11:18:40 AM »

how spotty is the spotty pattern?  is it spotty due to backfilling or hygienic behavior?  queens laying a tight pattern on a few frames wouldn't worry me if i had russian genetics in the mix nearly as much as a shotgun pattern would.
if the pattern is really bad i'd consider crushing that queen and doing a combination or at least plan on replacing her as early as possible next year.  
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RHBee
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 12:23:04 PM »

Rob yeah shotgun. Population small some backfilling. She's a swarm daughter of a Russian queen. The Russians wintered with a small cluster last winter. I'll let her go till spring and see. She is still laying worker brood, no drone.
Moots I'm not far ahead of you. Your .02 is welcome. That's why they call it a discussion.
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RHBee
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2013, 03:54:32 PM »

Just thought I would post an update. Well I decided to remove one of my queens from my back yard hives and combine the population with a cutout I recently acquired. I felt that her brood pattern was just to spotty.
Well, during my subsequent inspections in my out yards I found three other hives with the same indication. If this really is an indication of a poor queen then I have others. So, since I now had an extra queen and one of my goals is to winter my colonies in a either a single deep or double mediums topped with a medium of honey, I decided to make a split of one of my remaining double deep hives. I put the extra queen in the split in an introduction frame. I checked today and by the looks of it they are playing well no seen aggression and a lot of kissing. I'll let her out tomorrow.
This brood pattern that I was seeing could be the result of Russian genetics or the heavy goldenrod flow causing just a lack of space. All through the brood nest there are pockets of nectar. The spotty pattern has nectar filling in the spaces. I'm only in my second winter with different types of bees. Time will tell if I made the right decision.
Any thoughts are welcome.
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Finski
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2013, 06:02:09 PM »


During this time of year, what criteria do you use to evaluate a queen?

I rear new queens and I change them mostly all before autumn.

But if a new queen is hostile, I change it
Otherwise, it is impossible to know what are new queens. Next summer shows it.


Quote
I have a mixture of Italian and Russian

No need to evaluate mixtures. YOu cannot take daughters from those hives.

Quote
Some of my queens are laying heavily, others are not, one has a spotty pattern. Is there any hard and fast rule that covers all races?

There is no fast or slow rules and you ask too many things. Those are not race things...
Inside Italian bee there are tens of strains. And  colonies are individuals.

Spotty brood area ---> squeeze the queen
Not enough  laying ...> squeeze the queen. Bad laying does not become better

I evaluate laying speed in 3 frame mating nucs, what it should be.
And angry mind too. If new workers show  to me sting, I squeeze the queen and join the hive to another nuc.
.
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Finski
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2013, 06:09:10 PM »

I'm only in my second winter with different types of bees. Time will tell if I made the right decision.
Any thoughts are welcome.

Take it easy. Years are different too. It takes several years to convince yourself what is the rule of game.
And others do not know your bees. They cannot say much about them.
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RHBee
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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2013, 06:22:49 PM »

"Take it easy. Years are different too. It takes several years to convince yourself what is the rule of game.
And others do not know your bees. They cannot say much about them."


Thanks for the replies Finski. You gave good advice. I'll evaluate further in the spring. No hostile hives, just not sure about the egg laying.
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Ray
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2013, 09:28:53 PM »

This time of year if their alive I keep them til spring.  Woody
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RHBee
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 01:41:39 PM »

This time of year if their alive I keep them til spring.  Woody

Yeah Woody, That's what I'm gonna do.

I just checked both hives today. I found and marked the queen in the cutout/combination. I found the queen that I had pulled and then introduced into a late split. Everything is fine with both.
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2013, 02:12:36 PM »

if all your brood is spotty then it's most likely something in the environment.  by that i mean available food, temps, etc.  how are the stores.  what's available out there for them. 

even in your warmer environment the queens will reduce laying.  shorter days.  less brood.  you may never good brood free, but less is to be expected.  less also, if there had been a dearth even if they have stored food.

when you say spotty brood, is the spotty brood all in the brood area?  does it look like brood has hatched and the queen has not gone back to fill in? is what's left pretty much capped?  these would be  signs of the queens taking a break for some reason.
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T Beek
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2013, 04:57:32 PM »

As days shorten queens lay less and brood patterns are sometimes spotty due to workers filling any available cells with syrup/nectar as winter approaches. 

Bees will hopefully reside and cluster on a large patch as temps get real cold but many of the scattered brood will die from being chilled and/or neglected.  A good reason not to 'overfeed' colonies in the Fall, which occurs more often and causes more problems than we know.
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RHBee
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2013, 08:23:44 PM »

if all your brood is spotty then it's most likely something in the environment.  by that i mean available food, temps, etc.  how are the stores.  what's available out there for them. 

even in your warmer environment the queens will reduce laying.  shorter days.  less brood.  you may never good brood free, but less is to be expected.  less also, if there had been a dearth even if they have stored food.

when you say spotty brood, is the spotty brood all in the brood area?  does it look like brood has hatched and the queen has not gone back to fill in? is what's left pretty much capped?  these would be  signs of the queens taking a break for some reason.

Kathy, this was one of my smaller colonies. As I checked my other colonies I found the same pattern in the majority of them. So..If she was bad than I have many others. In her case, there was plenty of available comb. I didn't destroy her instead, I made a split from a strong colony. In the strong colony I left a deep full of brood and a medium full of honey. There was still a lot of bees, 8 deep frames covered.

As days shorten queens lay less and brood patterns are sometimes spotty due to workers filling any available cells with syrup/nectar as winter approaches. 

Bees will hopefully reside and cluster on a large patch as temps get real cold but many of the scattered brood will die from being chilled and/or neglected.  A good reason not to 'overfeed' colonies in the Fall, which occurs more often and causes more problems than we know.

T Beek, it is still very mild here. I think the lowest it's supposed to get here the next few days is 45degF. I hadn't been feeding these bees but they have been and still are pulling in goldenrod. I am sure that I have enough population to cover any brood left. I agree that the spotty pattern was caused by back fill but I don't understand why they didn't use other comb available to them.
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merince
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2013, 05:04:31 PM »


T Beek, it is still very mild here. I think the lowest it's supposed to get here the next few days is 45degF. I hadn't been feeding these bees but they have been and still are pulling in goldenrod. I am sure that I have enough population to cover any brood left. I agree that the spotty pattern was caused by back fill but I don't understand why they didn't use other comb available to them.

They are slowing down for the winter and the bees are trying to reduce her laying area. Queens usually will not cross a nectar/honey band (unless, of course they are looking for drone comb, usually in the spring). Were the open frames right there or did she need to cross honey frames to get to the new area?
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RHBee
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2013, 07:06:13 PM »

There was open brood comb above her. I made a split from a pretty strong colony and gave her to it. I checked later and found that she was accepted. I don't know, time will tell.
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Ray
T Beek
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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2013, 06:10:25 AM »

Hopefully it all works out.  A bit late for splits but...........? 

Did you give the split some time...(even a few hours) to realize that they were queenless before adding the queen?  Now the wait till Spring.....

"There are no mistakes only lessons"   It must have been a BEEK who said that the first time  Smiley
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RHBee
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2013, 08:03:21 AM »

Hopefully it all works out.  A bit late for splits but...........? 

Did you give the split some time...(even a few hours) to realize that they were queenless before adding the queen?  Now the wait till Spring.....

"There are no mistakes only lessons"   It must have been a BEEK who said that the first time  Smiley

Actually,  I introduced her using the BM queen introduction frame. Before I released her I gave them 3 days of scent time and fed syrup. She is well established judging by the way she acts.
As far as lateness for split, yeah kinda late but, I had an extra queen and a strong colony and I live down south. I also live on a peninsula so my ambient temperature runs a few degF higher than areas away from the lake.

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merince
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2013, 08:10:06 AM »

I would give her until spring, so I can see the actual pattern without the workers trying to restrict her laying area. Winter is a great selector, too.
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T Beek
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2013, 08:34:39 AM »

Quote;  "Winter is a great selector, too"

Ain't it the truth.......
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RHBee
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2013, 08:59:06 AM »

I would give her until spring, so I can see the actual pattern without the workers trying to restrict her laying area. Winter is a great selector, too.

Guys, watch my weather and compare to yours. Think chilly dearth, I can feed liquid syrup all winter.
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Ray
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