When and why to replace the queen?
You should replace the queen once a year. But if the queen is good (a strong colony with lots of bees) then you can leave that queen for another year. If you're not sure, it's better to replace it.
After a second year, the queen's productivity is decreasing. By replacing a queen, you prevent the colony from weakening and swarming.
Bees replace thair own queen by themselfes
Sometimes it may happen that bees replace their own queen. It happens when bees decide they need a new queen - if the queen is damaged, old or weak (poorly lays eggs). When the bees decide to replace the old queen they make one or two queen cells.
The queen who first came out of her cell destroys other queen cells. The new queen will mate, and then kill the old queen.
It may happen that the beekeeper does not notice that the bees have replaced the queen. During the hive examination, he can see the empty queen cells and, therefore, conclude that the bees have replaced the queen. But sometimes it can happen that the beekeeper misses to see the queen cells at all so the replacement of the queen goes unnoticed.
First simple way to replace the queen
There are several ways to do this, and the easiest way is to remove the queen from all the hives and allow each colony to make its own queen cells.
You need to be present at the apiary:
1One day to remove the queens from the hives.
2And another day exactly four days after the removal of the queen.
3One day for examination after about a month.
What do you need for queen replacement?
You do not need any special accessories other than the usual hive tool and smoker, and of course protective suit.
How to replace the queen:
1Remove the queen from the hive.
1Find the queen.
2Kill the queen. Or if the queen is good you can save her by putting her in a nucleus.
Bees quickly notice that there is no queen in the hive and start making queen cells. They choose some larvae from the open brood and start feeding them with royal jelly. And these larvae start to develop into new queens. Larvae that are fed with royal jelly can be both younger and older. However, the queen will develop better if the larva is longer fed with royal jelly (if the larva is younger).
The queen who first comes out of her cell will destroy other queen cells. The first queen coming out of the cell will be the one that developed from the oldest larva that is fed with royal jelly (the larva that is fed with royal jelly for the shortest period of time). Such a queen can not be very good, so after 4 days the beekeeper should destroy the closed queen cells (older larvae).
Day 4 from removing the queens
1Destroy all closed queen cells and also those with large larvae.
Destroy all closed queen cells, but also the open queen cells in which there are large larvae. Leave those with the smallest larvae. They will develop the best queens since they will be the longest fed with royal jelly.
1Open the brood box
2Use the hive tool to take the first frame.
3Examine it carefully, and destroy all the undesirable queen cells with hive tool.
4Place this frame on the ground and lean it on the front side of the hive.
5Examine the next frame, destroy all undesired queen cells on it and put it back into the hive.
6Repeat this with all frames in the brood box. If the hive has two brood boxes, do the same with the other brood box as well.
7Return all frames to their places. Do not forget the first frame you leaned in front of a hive.
8Close the hive.
Queen Celles are full of royal gelly that is extremely healthy. However, it is best to consume it right away, because as soon as it is pulled out of the cell it starts to lose its good properties. Take advantage of all the good qualities of royal gelly and eat it immediately before it starts losing its properties.
3After about a month
Examine the hives and see if the queen began to lay eggs. If there are eggs in the brood boxes and possibly an open brood, that means the queen is mated and everything is fine. If the bees are calm and the queen has not begun to lay eggs yet, wait a few days and examine that hive again.
Pros and cons
Advantages - The simplest way, it requires the least time.
Disadvantages - a weaker colony make a weaker queen. The development of the colony slows down as there is no egg laying for up to a month.