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Nov 9, 2008
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S.E. Cornwall
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I have a colony which went queenless in September. For whatever reason, they didn't raise a replacement and when I put a test frame in they didn't raise an emergency queen either.

I bought a mated queen and popped her in a few weeks ago and she has been accepted and has layed up 3 frames nicely...however there are now 2 capped QCs in the middle of 2 frames.....are they trying to supercede?? If so, why? And what should I do??
are they trying to supercede?? If so, why? And what should I do??

Seems they may be. The queen may have failed for some reason - damaged, insufficient laying power through inadequate mating or disease, or other.

Well, it will not be successful at this time of the year (in mine and a lot of others opinions) unless your climate is changing very quickly!

What to do? Look for the queen, remove the cells, and pray? Alternatively arrange for a queen replacement, unite with a colony with a known good queen (if the queen is not there or has completely stopped laying for reasons other than time of the year).

Impossible to predict the outcome from here, sorry. Just a few ideas.

One last thing. You are not treating the hive at present? If so, that could be a contributory factor in all this.

Regards, RAB
So shall I knock out the two cells?

I'm not treating it either.

There are some drones left in the hive there a chance a new queen can get mated still...
Yes, as long as the queen looks okay and is laying,knock out the cells,they sometimes try to supercede an introduced queen until they are sourounded by there own bee's,and if the weather changes they may well give up the idea of making cells.
Not much hope of a virgin getting mated by the time it emerges and is old enough to mate, unless you live where there are lots of drones,and hot weather in the winter,kent sounds like an ideal place.
Has the introduced queen got enough room to lay eggs?
Maybe not......would they be that silly as to try and supercede her even though she can't do anymore at present???
if theres no room for her to lay eggs, the workers will think shes a failing queen and try to supercede her.

sounds like you need more room for her.
Very strange if hive needr more brood frames.
What about you hivermaker. When you feed winter food hives full, do they make queen cells?
I would knock out the queen cells and assume that they will give up the idea of making more.
I think it was Brother Adam (AND Hivemaker!) who said that he thought that a queen introduction could not be considered a sucess until she was surrounded by her own bees.
Question is not "own workers" but age of the queen.

When we look an Australian research, queens age should be about a month and its success to accept is at its bes. At the age of 7 days 80% were destoyed.

The age of queen ..... % alive after 14 days
when captured

7 days ... 15%
14 . .. ... 48%
21 . ..... 85%
28 ... ... 85%
35 days ... 90%

Apidologie 35 (2004) 383-388

Queen honey bee introduction and early survival - effects of queen age at introduction
John W. Rhodesa, Douglas C. Somervilleb and Steven Hardena

(Received 15 April 2003; revised 12 September 2003; accepted 8 October 2003)

Abstract - The survival of honey bee Apis mellifera queens to 14 days and 15 weeks after introduction into an established bee colony increases with increasing age of the queen at introduction. Survival rates increased strongly to high levels for queen bees introduced between 7 and 24 days of age and at a slower rate for queens introduced at ages up to 35 days. The survival rates were similar for sister queens introduced into two unrelated apiaries suggesting that apiary site and beekeeper management differences had minimal effect on survival rates. A year effect was found but the response to increasing age was similar for the three years.
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I bought 4 queens in spring from Italy and 3 of them started to supercede queen during one month.

Posting via air or via land rises superceding too 30% according the Australian research.
To me that research has been very usefull during couple of years. It is very easy to give 1 month old queen to the new colony.

I have noticed that if I offer 2 weeks old or 4 weeks old queen to the queenless hive, bees accept fine the old queen. With young queen bees are nervous and they try with jaws its legs and so on.
Introducing a queen at 7 days old would not be so easy as i doubt it would be mated, let alone being able to see sealed brood,not possible with a 7 day old queen. They would have to be around 21 days,then keep an eye out for the first 3 weeks after introduction for supercedure cells,by which time young bee's would be emerging from this queen =42 days age of queen or older. Its to do also with pheromone. Travelled queens have had a serious break in egg laying,so are not so easy to introduce as one which has been transferred from one of your own nuc's.
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I have kept now a style that I keep new queens in mating nucs quite long. Reason is that I see their tendency to diseases, to attach and some other things from emerged workers.

On another hand I need not vigorous layer when I get the main yield.

Important is too to me that I have lots of extraqueens that I can select the best and others I kill.

This Autumn I have my extra queens in whole one box hives. I will join hives next spring and I get a huge start to the colony when I put 2 normal colonies together. To me bees are more important than numerous queens.

Too small colonies in early spring have not much advantage.

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