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Hivemaker. 

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And don't tell me I am killing them all on inspection!!!

I'm sure your not Heather.........athough i hear a lot about these queen problems from Roger and several other sources, i have not come across any problems with queens myself, well not yet.
 

Heather 

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So what is your average queen life span?
I am getting anxious people ringing me looking for new queens as previous have 'gone' or superseded by poor queens within weeks of virgin matings. Some colonies -3 queens a year.
The books I read seem to suggest queens lasting at least a year-maybe 2/3.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Have plenty that are over two years old and still going strong...and some are even four years old,regular methuselahs.
I also have some queens from Norton that are heading very big double brood colonys,no swarming problems and just going into there second winter....i have reared a lot of my own queens from some of these.
 
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Hivemaker. 

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Perhaps the queen problems are a regional thing.....something in the water perhaps...
 

Heather 

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It is certainly prevalent in this area.(next county to Roger P). Many calls to me asking advice about queen failure from my Assoc.
Or in the air HM!

The only queen that is into her 2nd year was from Easy... and Norton reckons that was from him originally- not swarmy, double brood, good stores. And yes- breeding from her next Spring!
 

oliver90owner 

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So what is your average queen life span?

I don't measure the life span - not a very useful guide unless done carefully.

Recently I have had a queen into her third year; was breeding from her but now superceded.

We are all told to do oxalic each winter, but some of us resist the temptation as an easy varroa fix.

We are also told not to repeat the dose more than once a year. We are told that the treatment, if overdone, can kill adult bees. There may be a link to second year queen longevity. I don't know.

A lot do oxalic and only run a queen for that year, replacing as routine. No problems in that situation, but their advice to hobbyists may not be quite as sound as the way they seem to put it.

Yes, there is a problem of young queens being superceded after a short period. There may be a lot of factors potentially responsible, viz:

Drones - numbers, fertility (varroa affected?).
Poor conditions for mating - weather!
Poor queens, physically or genetically.
Poorer mating methods (apidae, mini-nucs?)
Strain of bee (genetics again).
Hive management.

There are probably others, too.

There also seems to be a lot of 'out of the ordinary' bee goings-on this year - swarming early (from small colonies), a lot of cast swarms, etc. Perhaps it is all related somehow? Perhaps not, who knows.

There may be some mileage in average mongrels, rather than so-called super bees.

Nevermind; long live the waggle dance!

Regards, RAB
 

admin 

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What is Roger P's hypothesis ?

From memory a few year back he was saying it was down to imported queens.
 

Hivemaker. 

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What is Roger P's hypothesis ?


I believe he thinks nosema could be one of the main factors, among other things.
 

Juststarting 

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I realise this is opening a can of worms but -

Who is determining what research is being funded?

And how are "they" deciding?
 

Polyanwood 

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Every year I have had at least one colony (not the same ones) where the queen has never properly got into lay in the Spring, whereas other nearby colonies fine. Although there was always worker brood, there was a lot of drone brood - suggesting poorly mated queens. These colonies made more drone brood than the happy ones and they were also the first to start making queen cells.

I have tried different tricks to try to perk them up; including replacing the queen, and testing them for varroa, acarine and Nosema... with little success.....no evidence of significant parasite/disease load. I have let them raise their own queens sometimes and sometimes bought queens in... it made no difference.... new queens had a poor laying pattern too.

I don't know why these colonies failed. I cull the drones in these colonies to reduce the risk of spreading whatever is wrong with them to other hives. My hypothesis used to be that there was something wrong with the queens, but my experience makes me less certain of this now.
 

Heather 

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Who is determining what research is being funded?

All I know is the BBKA gave a lump of money to Sussex Uni- I will find out more
 

Brosville 

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There's one lot of research loot being supervised by Syngenta, strangely enough having no remit to look in the direction of pesticides (obviously nothing suspicious or questionable there then........)
 

admin 

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So from what you are saying Bros,instead of research money being spent on looking into bee diseases/pesticides the money is being spent on other projects such as "The waggle dance".

Dont be silly no organisation would be daft enough to look into that when other important research is needed..(tongue in cheek smilie thingy)
 

Brosville 

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that'd be
, or possibly
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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Sussex University's Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) is studying the following subjects:
* study honeybees, stingless bees, ants and wasps, with the biggest part of the work being on the honeybee.
*how do honeybees and insects organise themselves;
* how do they resolve their conflicts over who works and who lays eggs;:D
*improved beekeeping practices, honeybee diseases, breeding and conservation: Sussex Plan for Honey Bee Health and Well Being,
~breeding strains of "hygienic" bees, which swiftly remove infected larvae and so reduce the spread of the disease within the hive, thereby helping the hive to keep on top of disease problems. (Funded by Rowse the honey company)
~studying the bee waggle dance, decoding waggle dances to determine how honey bees use the landscape for foraging,
~helping honey bees in urban environments.

To date, LASI has raised over £750,000 via a range of donors including Rowse Honey, Burt's Bees, the Body Shop Foundation, Marks & Spencer and the British Beekeepers' Association and Waitrose (£67,000)

Here is the man himself in action:
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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So far, researchers have found that forager bees have to travel furthest to find food in the summer, and that they do much of their foraging in urban and suburban areas.

Which kind of shoots himself in the foot when he claims that the decline of the honey bee is due to a growing mono culture in British Agriculture. Between 2004 and 2008, about 15,000 hectares (about 7%) of farmland was lost to urbanisation which would seem to indicate from the top statement that honeybees had more food rather than less.
 

RoofTops 

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And the poor man hasn't even given his talk in the church yet. May I suggest someone living locally goes along to listen rather than heckle. They can then tell us what he said.
 

admin 

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They are also looking into why honeybees will not draw foundation when a beekeeper wear's a blue beesuit.
 

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