Requeening Isn’t Easy For Me

I’ve probably requeened about a dozen hives since I started beekeeping in 2010, and I’d guess that about half of those requeenings were successful. I feel like I have a pretty good handle on feeding in the warm and cold seasons, a pretty good idea of when a colony is on the verge of swarming — and that’s probably 75% of what it takes to be a good beekeeper right there. But requeening, which seems simple, throws me for a loop about… well… 50% of the time. And it annoys me off and depresses me all in one blow. Because I know there’s something simple and ingenious to requeening well. But I don’t have it yet. I’m too careless, too inattentive to something crucial. As a mentorless beekeeper, I often feel like I’m overlooking something obvious. It’s the worst aspect of beekeeping in Newfoundland. But I guess I love it anyway.

Man oh man.

5 thoughts on “Requeening Isn’t Easy For Me

  1. Why are you requeening to begin with? I usually let the bees handle that themselves (much easier and cheaper!). Has it been for aggressive hives?

  2. I’d let them requeen naturally if I could.

    I requeened because one colony is full of mean bees. They got to go. Another colony has a failing queen and any natural requeening this late in the year is unlikely to succeed; the queens don’t usually mate well, etc. I also decided to split a 3-deep colony and create two new colonies.

    All of this I would have preferred to have done earlier in the year, but local mated queens were unavailable until now (one of the many inconveniences of beekeeping in Newfoundland) and my colonies weren’t strong enough to do walk-away splits earlier in the year.

    I had 4 mated queens. One went into a full colony with a failing queen. That worked out perfectly.

    The requeening of the mean hive seems to have worked out so far too. The queen isn’t laying much yet, but she seems to have been accepted.

    The queens that were introduced to the split hives, though, did not work out so well. I found multiple supersedure cells in each split, but I also found a fair bit of fresh brood from the introduced queens.

    I won’t bother going into how I plan to deal with the situation. It’s a work in progress and it’ll be fine in the end. Though it’s a slight headache I’d rather do without.

    UPDATE: I goofed. The bees did nothing wrong.

  3. I quickly realized my mistake this time. The hive I used to create a split from — the bees were in the process of superseding their queen and I didn’t notice the beginnings of the supersedure cells they were creating.

    And yes, the lack beekeepers in NL has always been a challenge. The only advantage to beekeeping in Newfoundland is not having to deal with Varroa or any other mites or diseases. Newfoundland honey bees are disease-free. So that’s huge.

    Other than that, compared to how beekeepers that I know in other parts of the world go about beekeeping, I’d describe most aspects of beekeeping bees in Newfoundland as a disadvantage. It’s a big, inconvenient, expensive, frustrating, pain in the neck at times.

  4. Don’t worry, beekeeping over here can be described as a “big, inconvenient, expensive, frustrating, pain in the neck at times” too! And yet we carry on! It’s the bee fever.

Comments are closed.