One of my queens. I reared them routinely before going natural.

A natural beekeeper requeening? Seems like an un-natural act. And it is. But is a necessary one if a beekeeper wants to keep his equipment full of bees.

All colonies usually perish within three to five years. Along the way, they will throw off a few swarms. Maybe supercede the queen a couple of times. But in the end, like all living things, the colony dies. Then it’s brood comb and cavity are scavenged. And in the process it’s prepared for new occupation. That’s natures cleansing way.

Without intervention, naturally managed colonies will follow the same path. I’ve found out about this the hard way. Basically:

  • my equipment was full of bees
  • I didn’t want any more hives so didn’t split
  • the natural queens had few problems
  • they all got old and their colonies failed at about the same time
  • I ended up with a few good hives and lots of empty equipment

It’s a better plan to routinely track the queens and replace them before they fail. I’ll be requeening at the end of the second season.

The best process is to follow the bees. They want to swarm in the spring. So, let them help solve your queen problems. Split a swarming hive. And let them raise a new queen.

Want a more proactive process? Split your worst colonies each spring and requeen them with cells reared from your best colonies.


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2 responses to “Requeening”

  1. ruhh says:

    Okay so what if I just noticed that my queen is missing (did not find her or any new eggs) but noticed lots of swarm cells? Should I just let those swarm cells develop and a new queen will take over? How will I know if she will be mated?

    PS: I only have two hives and one is now queenless. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • -bW says:

      Hi ruhh

      If the queen has failed or is missing, the bees are attempting to replace her. Let those cells hatch.

      And if all goes well, your hive will have brood in a few weeks.


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