Requeening a beehive refers to the hive making a new queen or a beekeeper changing queens. I did the former with two hives this year.
The first was by accident. I had bought and put together two new hives and was going to “split” my hives again. This means you split part of a beehive off and the bees make a new queen.
But before I could, one of my hives swarmed. This is how bees reproduce – they naturally make one hive into two. Here’s a pic.
The existing queen gathers about half the bees (a few thousand) and they leave the old hive and settle on a tree branch, log or where ever. They then look for a new home.
Meanwhile the hive where they left creates new queens. They start feeding the larvae “Royal Jelly” to change them from a regular bee to a queen. They make a bunch of queens.
It takes 15 days to make a new queen.
The first queen to hatch kills the other queens in their cocoon. Like in the movie Highlander – there can be only one.
New queens sing to the hive. Here’s a video.
So I opened the hive from where the swarm came, and sure enough, they were making a bunch of new queens. Here’s a pic.
But first I had to catch the swarm in the tree. So I did. You do this by shaking the swarm into a hive box. Or so I’ve read – never did it before. Here’s the video:
It went well. They kept going back to the tree, so I kept shaking them in the box. I was able to get the queen in there, so the rest of the bees followed within an hour or so.
These bees are thriving as are the hive they left. But I felt bad that all those new queens were being raised but only one would live.
So, I collected a couple. Look for my next newsletter about what I did with them.