Packages this year have offered some real challenges to the area’s beekeepers. Basically the queens have been failing at a higher than normal rate. I have been working with one beekeeper that has two new hives from packages. The hives started on foundation. One queen looked normal but did not lay (not mated?) and one queen was dead on arrival. The one hive with the not mated queen was given a new queen from a reliable source mid week which should resolve that hive’s queen problem. At the time, there is not a second queen available.
The non laying queen was caged and moved into the hive with no queen because there was the beginning of laying workers and the hope was that the queen’s pheromones would inhibit the laying worker while a solution was found.
Today a very small NUC with a queen and a bit of brood was added to the laying worker hive using the standard newspaper separator process. The hope is that the queen and brood pheromones and her attendant workers will be strong enough to overcome the laying worker’s pheromones and the hive will accept the new queen.
It is a grand experiment and may fail but that is the fun of beekeeping. I’ll post the results which should be known by next weekend.