Queen Introduction Problems

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It is quite apparent from the questions seen on E-mail and the questions asked at bee association meetings that many Beekeepers need an understanding of favorable or unfavorable conditions when trying to requeen a colony.

Two PRIME problems quickly come to mind:

  1. YOUNG bees, just a few days old accept a new queen quite readily, whereas an OLD foraging age bee of 3-4 weeks of age doesn’t care very much for this new STEPMOTHER. Hence, it is ALWAYS better to introduce a new queen among young bees in a nuc, get her accepted and laying, and then unite that small nuc with the larger QUEEN LESS colony. The important KEY here is YOUNG bees accept a new queen much better than OLD bees!
  2. If there is just a small nectar flow on, or worse, a dearth of nectar, the bees are “mad at the world” and don’t want the aggravation of “getting to know” a new STEPMOTHER. 1:1 sugar syrup is an artificial nectar and it should always be fed during any queen introduction procedure. This statement surely sound ANTHROPOMORPHIC, but it helps your thinking, I use it. A source of food makes the bees “happy”, and being “happy” makes queen introduction much more successful.

All of my followers know that I much prefer FALL REQUEENING over “screwing-up” my early spring honey crop by trying to requeen in the spring. Further, fall bred queens are usually better mated because of more drones available; and the queen introduced in September is “rearing” to go laying lots of early spring eggs and she has not used up much of her queen PHEROMONE, that “glue” that holds a large population of adult worker bees together as a functioning unit rather than dividing by swarming.

George Imirie
Certified EAS Master Beekeeper

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