Taking Care of Your Queens

How to take care of Queens

The main things to having producing colonies is to always have vigorous queens in disease- and mite-free colonies. Young queens are productive egg laying capacity and are much less likely to swarm tendency. It's a good idea to check all of your hives at least every 10 days, but you should at least check them during dearth periods, like early spring, just after harvest when treating for mites, and before winter season. You have to make sure there are eggs and a good laying pattern — lots of brood in the combs, not a scattered brood pattern in the colony. Re-queening once a year will insure that you always have young queens. Many of beekeepers leave the queen in for two seasons if she is still laying good brood pattern the second season, but they run the risk that she will begin to fail during the colder months. It is good idea to have marked queens so that you will have an idea of how old she is and from where she came.

If you are having a super-cedure queens, you can mark these yourself with easy by just a little practice. (Super-cedure - replacement of a reigning queen by her workers) You can catch the queen as she walks on the comb by grabbing her wings easily. Pick her against your clothes and hold gently on either side of the thorax between your thumb and forefinger. You have a bottle of enamel paint and an open queen cage. You can use the stem of a grass blade to put a small spot of paint on thorax, rubbing it into the hairs. But be careful not to use too much or to get paint on other parts of her body, like the eyes and antennae. An easier way is to use enamel paint marking pens, which can found on hobby stores or in certain bee supply catalogs.

Now the queen dry off for about five minutes in queen cage before releasing her again into the colony so the workers don't remove the paint from queen. Clip off half of one of her front wings also is an option that beekeepers some time use to prevent her from flying away with a swarm. That's the way, if the colony swarms, the queen may be lost in grass, but the bees will return to hive where they will have a new queen in the colony. How ever, they may still swarm again with virgin queen if you do not have relieve the crowding of the brood-nest. Warning: To make sure she is a mated queen before you clip her wing! If you clip a virgin queen’s wing, she cannot fly out and mate with the drone. 13 Young queens are more readily accepted by bees than older queen in the hive. And also, queens are more likely to be accepted in small colonies and it's easier to find the old queen to remove in to small hive than it is in a hive with lots of bees in the colony. Therefore, it is easier to re-queen in the spring because that is when the colony population is lowest that time.

But there are several advantages to re-queening during the summer in to northern states. Northern-bred queens might be better adapted to your condition, and these queens are available in the summer. For example, someone raising their own queens in the Midwest may be able to have new queens by about the Second of June. At that time, it is more likely that there will be good weather for mating with queens than earlier times. There should be more drones available for the queens to mate with as the strong colonies prepare for swarming.

Introducing new queens during the summer can also insure that you have young queens that are likely to start laying eggs earlier in the year the spring. And also, young queens are less likely to swarm or be super-ceded than old queens in the colonies. And if you are trying to maximize honey production, then you may have to wait until just after the honey harvest to re-queen, or you may want to do it gradually over the summer season.

Queen bee

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