NZBF: New queen in Autumn

Welcome to NZ Beekeepers+
Would you like to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up
7
4
Auckland, New Zealand
Experience
Beginner
Hi all,

I am a very new beginner to beekeeping and would like some advice please!

I got a nuc in November last year, and my queen had a blue dot on her (so was new early last year).
She looks a little rough (torn wings etc), but seems to be laying reasonably well I think. However about 6 weeks ago, I found a few varroa mites on the back of a few bees and therefore put bayvarrol strips in early - things look a bit better now - I can't see any varroa mites.

I noticed on a general hive check two weeks ago, a new queen bee, as well as my old queen - still plenty of brood. I figured I'd leave them to it and see what happened. However, when I checked on them today to see how things were going, I found my old queen still there, and couldn't find the new queen. I also found two sealed queen cells.
I left them to it again, however I am a little worried, as I really can't see any drones around at all, so wonder how well mated a new queen might be if the bees have decided that my old queen isn't performing well...?

I am just wondering if I should just have faith that the bees know what they're doing, or if I should be looking at buying a mated queen so that I know my hive will be okay through winter?

Thanks in advance for your help :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grant

Mummzie

Staff member
Gold
1,088
959
Tasman
Experience
Hobbyist
Have faith @GeorgiaN .
you seem to have been able to know to react when required -and to leave the bees alone to see what happens when action wasn't necessary. That's a good start.
Queen breeders are still doing grafts, so there is no doubt your queen will be able to mate.
Many people feel an autumn queen will have better weather for mating than in spring- therefore possibly a better queen.

You always have the option to purchase a mated queen later if your cells fail.
 

kaihoka

Gold
232
198
whanganui inlet
Experience
Hobbyist
Hi all,

I am a very new beginner to beekeeping and would like some advice please!

I got a nuc in November last year, and my queen had a blue dot on her (so was new early last year).
She looks a little rough (torn wings etc), but seems to be laying reasonably well I think. However about 6 weeks ago, I found a few varroa mites on the back of a few bees and therefore put bayvarrol strips in early - things look a bit better now - I can't see any varroa mites.

I noticed on a general hive check two weeks ago, a new queen bee, as well as my old queen - still plenty of brood. I figured I'd leave them to it and see what happened. However, when I checked on them today to see how things were going, I found my old queen still there, and couldn't find the new queen. I also found two sealed queen cells.
I left them to it again, however I am a little worried, as I really can't see any drones around at all, so wonder how well mated a new queen might be if the bees have decided that my old queen isn't performing well...?

I am just wondering if I should just have faith that the bees know what they're doing, or if I should be looking at buying a mated queen so that I know my hive will be okay through winter?

Thanks in advance for your help :)
If I was in auckland and this happened in Auckland now I would not be worried.
If it happened in a months time I would have a moment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GeorgiaN

Grant

Staff member
Founder Member
Platinum
10,265
4,796
I am a very new beginner to beekeeping and would like some advice please!
It sounds like it would be worthwhile writing up a hive logbook so that you can refer back to it, or maybe even point to it when you need additional help.

 
  • Like
Reactions: GeorgiaN
20
15
UK
Experience
International
You are seeing supercedure; I've seen similar before in autumn and the old queen survives OK through the winter. However the new queencells indicate that the bees want another go at rearing a queen. A queencell is sealed for 8 days. If both are broken down from the back, in due course, it means that the existing queen has done them in. If one is open in a few days time and one is broken down, then the chances are that the first one out killed her sister. You might find the old queen goes at this time or she might not. We still can never be sure what they will do! It's surprising how a queen will find some drones to mate with (after being out for 5 or 6 days) - provided the weather is warm enough. Once mated she will take a few days to start to lay. Worth checking outside the hive for dead queens from time to time as you might find one gets chucked out!
 
  • Like
Reactions: GeorgiaN


Top