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To requeen or not to requeen?

 
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JD88
New Bee


Joined: 01 May 2016
Posts: 6
Location: Guilford, Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:50 pm    Post subject: To requeen or not to requeen? Reply with quote

Hi,

I am a new to bees and have just started my first Top Bar hive from a package of italian bees that were trucked from Georgia, USA to Connecticut, where I installed them. I realize that a local queen would be preferable for many reasons, but getting one this year or a starter nuc proved to be difficult hence the package install. The install occurred on May 24th and has gone well. I have 11 straight bars of comb, productive bees and lots of capped brood after 3 weeks. The bees look very happy and I am leaving them alone other than sitting watching them come and go.

My question concerns the italian queen bee that came with the package. I am concerned that the Georgia bred southern italian bee will have no clue about the New England winter that is coming and will not survive as well as the local queen that I have been offered (successfully survived a winter here and mated freely with local drones). Should I requeen with the local queen or take my chances with the current (apparently productive) mass produced italian import? The local queen is a carniolan bee of dubious ancestry.

I plan to expand to two hives next spring so would like the best chances of overwintering with the one hive I currently have.

Any help would be much appreciated.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would stick with what you have. Over the years, your bees will breed with local strains and become more and more, "local."
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ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi JD88.
I don't know your climate well, but assume you are concerned about cold and possibly wet winters. Your colony will need a hive that is able to retain heat, have enough stores to get through a winter( even an unexpected harsh one ) and the ability not to freeze or be too cold in the cluster to move on to stored honey. If they are resilient, they will make it. If you re-queen now, you will completely change the genetics of the colony. If the workers suspect that your queen is not up to the task, they will replace her anyway. I believe that we should let the bees decide on their new queen, I do not think that artificial queen rearing by man can be superior. It would be hard if the colony did not survive, but from what I learn about bee breeding and selling in the USA, failure seems to be quite common with bees bred in the South being shipped to Northern States. Try an get some local swarms ( preferably feral swarms ) next spring or order a nuc from a reputable local keeper. I would not worry so much, and good luck.
Ingo
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 287
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If their already productive why not take a split to the local queen you've been offered or does your winter start really early?
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy beat me to it. Make a nuc and set the local queen up and see how it goes. if you have a flow on it should work, otherwise you will have to feed the nuc.

Cheers
Rob.
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 287
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where I live we feed small nucs for about the first two or three weeks anyway.

I asked the BKA why and the answers were various but the concensus was the flow is variable here because of various factors and rather than risk a food shortage that would put the Q of laying it's better to be safe than sorry.

Must admit with the one I have done they do take about a litre every two days of 1:4 syrup and soon fill the frames.
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JD88
New Bee


Joined: 01 May 2016
Posts: 6
Location: Guilford, Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for your advice. I will make a split into a nuc and keep both queens. I will feed the nuc colony for a few weeks after making the split.
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep an eye on the feeding. You only want enough for them to expand with and a bit extra. If you over feed they will backfill the brood nest and could swarm. Its a balancing act.

Cheers
Rob.
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 287
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My understanding is the strength of the syrup makes a difference to that behaviour.

I have been feeding 1:4 syrup in my two new colonies and filling the feeders very late in the day.
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