There has been some discussion recently about requeening your hive in July with a surviving queen daughter from Alaska Bee Initiative. There are some good reasons to do it.
- Many beekeepers will allow their hives to requeen (remove the old queen) right as the nectar flow starts. The reason to do this is to allow the workers a vacation from tending brood, and allow them to divert their attention to gathering nectar. This is thought to improve honey production. In this scenario, the hive makes a new queen from their existing larva.
- We’re suggesting something a little different. What we suggest is that at the point in July when you would allow your hive to requeen, instead of killing the old queen, you would remove her and several frames, and place them in a nuc box, saving your queen and allowing them to build up at a time when there is maximum nectar flow. Instead of allowing the hive to create their own queen, you would introduce a queen cell or virgin queen from our surviving queen project. This would give you the genetics of a known surviving colony, and an opportunity to winter this queen.
- Since your original queen is still alive, you would have a spare. There is still plenty of time left in the summer for this nuc to build into a full-sized colony, and now you have two colonies well-prepared for winter. In addition, the brood break that you gave the first hive could amount to more honey for you!
If you’re interested in hosting a new queen from this year’s survivors, let us know as soon as possible!