Replacing old queens is a forced process that increases the productivity of the bee colony. Naturally, the replacement is carried out during the swarming of bees. Replacing the queen in the fall is more preferable for beekeepers. In this case, the young uterus gains strength over the winter, and by the spring it becomes ready for egg-laying.
Why do you need to change queens
A queen bee is a female with well-developed genitals. She is considered the head of the family, as her main task is to lay eggs. The queen bee stands out from the rest of the bees by her appearance. Its abdomen is shaped like a torpedo and protrudes significantly beyond the wings. The uterus can leave the hive only during swarming or during the period of active mating. It is slower compared to workers. There are the following types of bees:
- quiet shift;
Lower quality larvae reproduce fistula queen bees. This is due to the fact that they have to be placed in small cells. The most common variety is considered to be swarms. They provide quality honey. On average, one swarm bee lays about 15 queen cells. The disadvantage of such queen bees is their tendency to swarm. Quiet change queens are not inferior to the previous variety in productivity. They appear when the previous uterus becomes too old. Sometimes beekeepers provoke the process of its appearance purposefully.
As we age, the reproductive function of the queen bee declines. In order to maintain the insect population, it is necessary to stimulate the development of young queen bees. They replace the old one. Under the influence of some factors, the uterus may die prematurely. This will lead to disruption of the work of the hive and the further death of its representatives. Therefore, the beekeeper needs to monitor the presence of the queen bee. If necessary, measures are taken to nurture a new leader of the bee family.
Replacing a queen bee in the fall is somewhat risky. There is a risk to add an infertile queen. In this case, the bees can kill a new resident of the family. They do not always readily accept new individuals. Resettlement may end in conflict, which will affect the quality and quantity of the harvest in the spring.
Attention! The main condition for the successful placement of a new queen bee is the absence of open brood in the hive.
How often are the queen bees changed?
The frequency of replacing queen bees is determined by a combination of factors. The age of the queen of the bee family is of decisive importance. Also take into account:
- climatic conditions;
- apiary methods;
- biological characteristics of insects;
- the state of the family at a certain moment.
The average life span of a queen bee is 5 years. But after 2 years, the female becomes unsuitable for laying, especially under the influence of unfavorable factors. The older the queen bee, the weaker the family. The reproductive abilities of the leader of the bees also depend on the quality of the honey harvest. If it has been long and productive, the uterus will wear out faster. Therefore, it is better to change queens in the apiary at least once every 2 years. But many beekeepers prefer to change queens annually.
What are the ways to replace queen bees in the fall
There are several ways to replace a queen bee in a family. The beekeeper selects the most suitable option for himself. Most often, they practice replacement without looking for the queen of the family. This method is called a quiet uterine change. A mature queen cell is placed in the hive, in which there is a young queen bee. If the bees accept it, then they gradually release the cocoon, waiting for the appearance of a new queen. After its first oviposition, the old individual becomes unsuitable for further reproduction. The bees get rid of it on their own. Quiet replacement of the uterus can be triggered by unforeseen events - illness, attack by rodents, hypothermia of the uterus, etc.
Replacing the uterus in September can be done by creating a layering. It is separated from the main part of the bees by a partition. In this case, active work on procreation will be carried out in both parts of the hive. Over time, families unite. And the old individual is driven out of the hive as unnecessary.
Important! Quiet replacement of the queen bee is the most optimal way, since it does not affect the quality of the honey, but improves the performance of the hive.
When is it better to change the queen of bees
Beekeepers prefer to change the queen in the autumn. It is believed that juveniles rarely die during wintering. They are the most resistant to high temperatures. In the fall, the hive is treated with chemical solutions. The old individual may not survive it due to the weakened state. Therefore, a hive with a new uterus is processed.
Replacement can be done at any time, from April to September. Each beekeeper has his own approach to this process. Statistics show that replacing before the main honey collection is more productive. But you should take into account other factors that can affect the quality of the crop.
How to replace a queen in a bee colony
The queen bee is responsible for the genetic makeup of the bee family. If she stops laying eggs, there is a need for her replacement. Initially, you need to find the queen of the family. To do this, it is advisable to inspect the frames with the largest amount of bee brood. Outwardly, the main individual is larger than other bees. But she can hide in a honeycomb, which makes her invisible.
To facilitate the search process, it is recommended to divide the family into 2 parts. To do this, you can equip a temporary home for each of them. After 3 days, eggs will appear in one of the boxes. It is in it that the queen bee hides. Problems with finding it can arise if the bees are too aggressive.
The discovered uterus should be placed in a nucleus or immediately killed. Within 24 hours after the removal of the old uterus, a new individual must be placed in the hive. You can also use the quieter shift mother liquor. He is placed in the hive, without touching the leader. Over time, the bees themselves will provoke a replacement, relying on instincts. Replacing without finding an old queen bee is not encouraged. This is due to the following reasons:
- low probability of successful adoption of the uterus;
- lack of control over the uterus;
- the replacement process is only possible in good weather.
For bees to accept a new queen, she must have a family scent. One trick will help with this. It is necessary to irrigate the bees and the queen with sugar syrup with the addition of mint. If you do not take any measures in advance, the bees can kill the guest by sticking a sting into it. In some cases, the new queen is simply ignored. As a result, she dies of hunger.
How is a quiet change of the queen in the bee colony
Any beekeeper is interested in quietly replacing queens in September. This procedure is considered less traumatic for the family. But next year it will bear fruit. In bees, nature is laid down to bring out a new leader in case of injury or illness of the old one. They recognize this event by smell. The killing of the old womb in favor of the new one is the main aspect of the instinct for self-preservation.
Beekeepers provoke a quiet shift even if the reproductive capacity of the old queen bee does not decrease. The reason for this is the desire to harvest as much of the crop as possible. To provoke the breeding of a new queen, it is enough to divide the hive into two parts and add a mother plant to one of the parts.
Bee care after the autumn replacement of queen bees
The autumn replacement of queen bees is a kind of stress for the inhabitants of the hive. To make the resettlement with the least loss, the beekeeper provides high-quality care for the bee family. First of all, the hive is processed in order to prevent infectious and fungal diseases. The new queen can bring them from another home.
After the queen has moved in, it is necessary to regularly look into the hive. Bees are capable of throwing out a new queen if they don't like her. You also need to put more food in the hive. It is advisable to use at least 5 liters of sugar syrup per hive. The first eggs should appear in a week. If this happens, the feeding process continues. A feeder with the same amount of syrup is placed in the hive. It is necessary to look into the hive with the new queen more often than usual. It is labor intensive, but the result will exceed expectations.
Since in the fall it is required to prepare the bees for winter, a thorough insulation of the hive is carried out. Frames are placed on the inside, outside the bee house is insulated with any available material. Most often, foam or mineral wool is used. The wintering of insects depends on the quality of thermal insulation. Don't forget about the ventilation holes. Without the right amount of oxygen, the air in the hive will be too dry.
Replacing queens in August requires no less close attention. The difference is that by sending the bees for the winter, the beekeeper can be sure that the new queen has been adopted by the family. In this case, the likelihood of a negative development of events is reduced.
Replacing the queen in the fall is an optional process, but many beekeepers try to stick to it. The result of this change is the high productivity of the family and the quality of honey. But it is extremely important to carry out the change of bee queens strictly in accordance with the established rules.