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2nd Year Beekeeping

Welcome to the NEW 2nd Year Beekeeping Blog. For those who have sucessfully kept a hive going through the winter we will be here to help you keep your hive thriving through it's second year.

A beekeeper will find that at various times their colonies queen needs to be replaced. The common reasons for replacing a queen may include: a failing or old queen, no queen in the hive, unproductive queen with spotty brood, break in brood cycle, or your colony may have aggressive features.

Beekeepers will be proactive and requeen after one season to prevent the colony from reaching the point where replacing the queen is a necessity. Historically beekeepers would wait longer, 3 - 5 years, to replace a good queen but beekeepers have chosen to pinch off these older queens to prevent having them fail and become drone layers.

Many beekeeping books indicate that a queen under normal conditions will be productive with strong pheromone signals for approximately two years. As she continues to age her pheromone will decrease and worker bees are driven to rear a new queen. The removal or death of a queen in absence of young eggs will lead to the decline of colony population and possible laying worker. The queen's pheromone acts as a signal throughout the hive to suppress queen rearing, stimulate worker activities, and establish the queen's reproductive supremacy.

A new queen introduced in late summer/early fall will mean a younger queen with stronger pheromones come spring
; there will be a break in brood to reduce pest and disease problems; and the younger queen will suppress the tendency to swarm in spring. Requeening in the fall does have some disadvantages though. There is the strong possibility of robbing, finding and pinching off the old queen can be difficult, and feeding is necessary for better acceptance.

Here is the procedure to install the new queen: You must locate and remove the old queen. Use a queen excluder between supers if you have difficulties finding the queen. This will confine the queen to one box and can be identified by newly laid eggs. Once you have removed the old queen, you can now replace with your new queen.

The Benton or JZ BZ cage can be positioned between the frames with the candy end facing up. Remove the cork from the candy end, use a rubber band to secure cage to frame, and let the colony remove the queen as they become acclimated to her.

Wait five to seven days before inspecting and removing the queen cage. Wait an additional week before inspecting frames for eggs.