Carniolan bee (Apis mellifera Carnica) in Slovenia
should be known during the introduction of queens?
us look at some general findings that must be considered before setting about
introducing queens or requeening. A variety of information circulates among
beekeepers about procedures, such as that the queen must be anointed or scented
before being introduced, in order to equalise the smell of the queen with the
odour of the colony into which the queen is being introduced. For successful
introduction, the behaviour of the queen is even more important, as well as
conditions at the time of introduction and the time of release from the queen
emerged queens are very lively, move quickly over the comb, as if wanting to
escape. They remain like that for a considerable time after mating. In this we
can be sure that if we open a nucleus hive in which the queen is already laying,
we must certainly be careful that she does not escape. The more she lays, the
more she calms down, and is finally calmed when she is already surrounding by
her own descendants. It can be said that a queen matures after approximately 4-5
weeks. No breeder can keep them in the nucleus hive for so long but almost
always removes them after a few days laying, when they are not yet really
mature. A buyer must count on that and act accordingly.
queens are fertile for at least four years, and can also be for considerably
longer. They are only at the height of their power for the first two years. So
the majority of beekeepers do not allow older queens in their active hives, but
replace them if possible every year.
weather when queens are introduced and released from the queen cage is
important. Success will be ensured in fine, calm weather, when there is at least
some forage available. If there is not, we must start some days previously to
add sugar syrup to the colony into which we are introducing the queen, and
continue feeding for some days after the queen has already been released from
the queen cage. In cold and windy weather, when there is no available forage for
bees, it is wiser not to start the introduction.
- If a colony is
queenless, it begins to construct emergency
colony into which we introduce a queen must be reliably queenless and
may not have any royal cells. With a colony in which we are requeening,
we know with certainty that after removal it is queenless. We similarly
know that a spare hive, which we have made in one of the known ways, is
queenless. If for any reason we are not certain whether a colony is
really queenless, we must check this. This is done in the following way.
From a colony which has an unsealed brood, we take a comb of eggs with
at least some eggs or young larvae, which we mark with a drawing pin and
place in the centre of the brood chamber of the colony that we are
checking, having previously removed its combs. After a few days, we
check the introduced comb. If royal cells have formed, there is
certainly no queen in the colony and we introduce a new one. We extract
the queen cells and do not replace the comb but normally put it back
where we took it from.
The age of the bees in a colony into which we are introducing a queen is very important. Old bees are not friendly to her and it is precisely they who are to blame if the colony does not accept her. So it is very difficult successfully to introduce a queen to a colony that has already been without one for a long time or in which laying worker bees have already appeared. We must also recognise that small colonies more easily accept a young queen than bee colonies in large hives.
The time of year of requeening is important. She is introduced to spare hives and those without a queen when this is necessary. Otherwise, in replacing a queen in productive hives, we must decide ourselves when to do this. Some beekeepers firmly advocate the replacement of queens in early spring. At the time of the first inspection, they assess the quality of the queen. If she is not suitable in all respects, they replace her irrespective of her age. If the colony is weak, they introduce an entire nucleus hive together with a queen.
colonies must be thoroughly prepared for such a method of requeening, and
nucleus hives must be prepared the previous year. The young queens
overwinter in them. Any colony prefers to accept them in spring, because the
introduced queens are then already matured, and acceptance is that much more
reliable. Remember how important it is that the beekeeper also has some bee
colonies in reserve. When he introduces the queen in spring, he does not destroy
the old queen that is removed but places her together with a few combs and bees
in a reserve hive. The queen first lays there, the beekeeper as necessary takes
the comb of eggs and in summer replaces her with a young queen, which
overwinters in that hive and is again available in spring for replacing any
other exhausted queen.
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