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jenkinsbrynmair 

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Our colonies typically last 2 - 4 years.
Now that's a pretty poor outcome whatever way you try to dress it (or deflect attention with some rather weak 'whataboutery' regarding requeening).
I have colonies here that have lasted over ten years without me once putting a new queen in.
What you are actually saying is that your colonies die after two to four years. If they were in good fettle they would requeen themselves after two to four years and carry on going, not just die out.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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> Can you provide any data on how many commercial bee farmers replace their queens (and numbers of queens actually replaced) a) every year, b) every 2 years, c) with a failing queen?

No, but I note the BBKA training seems to go on about replacing queens every Autumn or every other Autumn in their training
Ah, I thought we were talking about beekeeping, not what the BBKA teach
 

oxnatbees 

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jenkinsbrynmair, as I understand it even the conventional beeks in this area have problems with queen failure like this. It seems to be gradually getting better since the nenic ban but it is too early to say. I do know of a couple of really old wild colonies (18, 30 years according to the householders but I have only been monitoring them for about 8).

You obviously have a lot of colonies. Can you tell us what the average time between you requeening them is? Need more facts!!!
 

Murox 

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I cant help but wonder whether regionality and the density of managed hives plays a significantly large role in how many wild/feral/escaped colonies can be found and considered self sustaining?
 

Boston Bees 

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I cant help but wonder whether regionality and the density of managed hives plays a significantly large role in how many wild/feral/escaped colonies can be found and considered self sustaining?
There's a huge interplay between managed and non-managed hives. Queens and bees move from one to the other on a regular basis, in most areas of the UK. The more of one type of colony there is, the more of the other there is likely to be (in both directions).

As such, alleged differences between the two in behaviour, temper, disease or pest resistance are generally (IMHO) imagined, outside some very specific localities and bee-breeding operations.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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No, do you? If so at what periodicity?
I don't, unless there's an issue with that queen or I want to bring in new genetics without increasing colony numbers. In general, my bees supersede.
I know more than one bee farmer who doesn't requeen by rote, a few who have never bought in a queen in their lives.
 

madasafish 

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There's a huge interplay between managed and non-managed hives. Queens and bees move from one to the other on a regular basis, in most areas of the UK. The more of one type of colony there is, the more of the other there is likely to be (in both directions).

As such, alleged differences between the two in behaviour, temper, disease or pest resistance are generally (IMHO) imagined, outside some very specific localities and bee-breeding operations.
Please provide proof of the above assertion.

My local bees would prove you totally wrong. But maybe I just imagined the following and the stings :cool: :cool:

But of course if you know my local bees better than me, I bow to your superior knowledge.
 

oxnatbees 

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I don't, unless there's an issue with that queen or I want to bring in new genetics without increasing colony numbers. In general, my bees supersede.
Well that deserves respect. How long do you think your colonies survive then?

Old books ( > a century ) indicate 4 to 7 years. That seemed to drop a lot as time went on.

Do your colonies get moved a lot or are they based mainly in Wales? (I am wondering about pesticide exposure)
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Well that deserves respect. How long do you think your colonies survive then?
I don't get that colonies just naturally die out the same as your old washing machine finally packs in through wear. If a colony dies on you, there has to be a reason.
As long as they're kept healthy, don't succumb to some murrain (such as EFB) or natural 'disaster' (floods,fire,extreme weather), varroa is kept in check, and they go into winter well managed they don't have a 'best before' date which you can smugly shrug if they die at that point.
It's just neglect of some kind - even if well meant.
 

oxnatbees 

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Queen failure: when they swarm you roll a dice. About 15% don't mate successfully, are sterile, get eaten by a bird on their mating flight or whatever. That colony then dwindles. One could transfer brood in so they could raise another queen, but it's a natural cycle so I just repopulate with a swarm next year and watch and learn from the dwindlers.
 

Erichalfbee 

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but it's a natural cycle so I just repopulate with a swarm next year and watch and learn from the dwindlers.
I like to give them something to do and a purpose in life so give them a vibrant colony to live in by uniting or shaking out. Hate to see a colony dwindle if I can do something about it
 

Swarm 

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I like to give them something to do and a purpose in life so give them a vibrant colony to live in by uniting or shaking out. Hate to see a colony dwindle if I can do something about it
Precisely, they hang around so much longer as well, in a miserable, pitiful state. Even a shake out finds them a new home and purpose, all is happy in very little time.
 

frankenstine 

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we've had a continuous colony in the garage roof for a known 10 yrs, they seem to be a very strong and healthy but there again the guy who's collected afew swarms from that colony says they dont handel varroa anydiffrent to any of the other swarms he's collected..... find out in he next year or few
 

Murox 

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we've had a continuous colony in the garage roof for a known 10 yrs, they seem to be a very strong and healthy but there again the guy who's collected afew swarms from that colony says they dont handel varroa anydiffrent to any of the other swarms he's collected..... find out in he next year or few
Of course swarming or any interruption of varroa breed cycle will restrict it.
 

oxnatbees 

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Also, a colony under stress will succumb to disease which will be spread to other colonies through robbing. Slow dwindling is not good husbandry.
That's a very absolute statement. The dwindlers act very chilled out and are next to other hives - I am pretty sure most of them defect to queen-right neighbours. One interesting observation (new to me but many will know this) was how long they live, months, because they are not working so hard. They like to sun themselves on the landing bard; there's no deformed wings. What disease? Why are you accusing me of having diseased bees? What disease? Any specific one in particular? This is not high intensity beekeeping. Why would they be diseased? Do you have disease in your apiary? I have been inspected 2 times, they never found any. How about you?

Back in 2014 one such colony which I assumed was dying, rebooted. The bee inspector told me they'd actually been superseding a failing queen. It did fine thereafter. Of course I could have requeened with, say, Buckfast and had angry F2 crosses for a year or two, as would my neighbouring beekeepers. What would you have done?
 

madasafish 

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"

Boston Bees said:
There's a huge interplay between managed and non-managed hives. Queens and bees move from one to the other on a regular basis, in most areas of the UK. The more of one type of colony there is, the more of the other there is likely to be (in both directions).

As such, alleged differences between the two in behaviour, temper, disease or pest resistance are generally (IMHO) imagined, outside some very specific localities and bee-breeding operations."


Please provide proof of the above assertion.

My local bees would prove you totally wrong. But maybe I just imagined the following and the stings :cool: :cool:

But of course if you know my local bees better than me, I bow to your superior knowledge.

I note I have not yet had a reply my request...
 

Murox 

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That's a very absolute statement. The dwindlers act very chilled out and are next to other hives - I am pretty sure most of them defect to queen-right neighbours. One interesting observation (new to me but many will know this) was how long they live, months, because they are not working so hard. They like to sun themselves on the landing bard; there's no deformed wings. What disease? Why are you accusing me of having diseased bees? What disease? Any specific one in particular? This is not high intensity beekeeping. Why would they be diseased? Do you have disease in your apiary? I have been inspected 2 times, they never found any. How about you?

Back in 2014 one such colony which I assumed was dying, rebooted. The bee inspector told me they'd actually been superseding a failing queen. It did fine thereafter. Of course I could have requeened with, say, Buckfast and had angry F2 crosses for a year or two, as would my neighbouring beekeepers. What would you have done?
Why should requeening with Buckfast give you and your neighbours angry F2 crosses for a year or two??
 

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