Beekeeping > Swarms, Cut Outs, Trap Outs and Bee Trees

Hot Hive Requeen

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Wandering Man:
We had a swarm move in to a swarm trap just shortly after removing a previous swarm.

At first, I thought it was just stragglers.  But there seemed to be too much activity to just be stragglers.

I put on my bee jacket and gloves to peek inside.  I was surprised to see the number of bees inside, and I am 80% sure this is a new swarm.

I lifted out one frame to see if I could find a queen.  Bees were working the comb but no queen.  The bees began to come stare me in the face and tell me to get lost.

I pulled a second frame, looking for a queen, and someone broke out the crate of bananas.  More bees swarmed my face, started hitting my gloves and veil and became insistent that I leave now.

I got the message and put the frame back in.  Since I was not wearing boots or my bee suit pants, I closed the hive and began walking away.  3Reds was right behind me.  She is a little brighter than I am, so she kept her hands out of the hive and was wearing her full bee suit.

My plan is to suit up fully and go back in.  If there is a queen in there, I'll kill her and replace her.  If there is no queen, I thought I would introduce a frame of brood and add a new queen.

Assuming I find and kill a queen, how many days should I wait to introduce the new queen?  I'm thinking of killing her on Sunday and installing the new queen in a cage on Wednesday.  Is that too long?  Should I kill the old queen on Monday, instead?

If the bees are not ready to accept the queen, I can probably keep her alive in my house for a day or two, but after that her chances for survival in the box start to drop.

Thursday would be the last possible day, anyway, since we will leave town Friday for the weekend to visit kids and grandkids.

I would put her in on the next day, hopefully before they get in a cell building mode assuming there is a queen. You may be putting queen acceptance on a tight schedule with your schedule. Even with a caged queen in the hive they may still try to make their own and need to check.  I wouldn't save her if her genetics are mean.

I would kill the queen and put the new one in at the same time. Only one trip into the hive for install. I would leave the cork in until returning on Monday or Tuesday. They will feed her through the wire. After a week, I would remove the cork and let them remove any fondant that was left. If none, be careful she doesn't fly when released. If no fondant is left, a small marshmallow may keep her in until the hive is closed and they can release her.

Wandering Man:
Well this was unexpected. I thought others had said that with hot hives I should wait a day or two and clean off any queen cells to make the bees more likely to accept a new queen.

Iddee, will the queen in the cage be able to protect herself from angry bees for the time she is in there locked in?  What if the queen I get does not have attendants in the cage with her.  Gretchen's Bee ranch usually put their queens in the cage alone, and in a larger box with attendants, candy and a damp paper towel.

These bees likely have a bit of Africanized genetics, always a risk in South Texas, but apparently not as prevalent as some believe.

I would not buy a queen without attendants. If I could put the larger cage in the hive with the attendants, I would. Otherwise, I would tell them to package her differently.If they can kill her the first 24 hours, they can kill her the 2nd or 3rd 24 hours. It takes several days to accept a different strain of bees most times. The screen will prevent balling, which is the way they kill her.


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