Queen replacement or introduction is predicated on:
- accidental queen loss (a necessary contingency where colonies are routinely opened for training and demonstration purposes);
- colonies are split or nucs are established for a wide range of purposes including low risk queen replacement;
- colony bees of cranky disposition needing to be promptly removed from the apiary;
- colony suffers ongoing disease problems (mainly chalk brood) unresponsive to treatments such as light sugar water feeding;
- colony queens are failing, that is where bee numbers are unseasonably dwindling; and
- colony queen is old and liable to supersedure and/or swarming or the queen has been replaced and is more swarm prone.
Ultimately queen replacement should be at the call of the apiary management team who will reciprocate by reporting on major apiary management activities including requeening.
Queen use differs from backyard operations in that public safety is paramount (to protect all JW users and the club), in that nuisance swarming must be minimised and in that issues such as disease transmission and use of tractable bees is a practical and accountable reality. Operating nucs from mid spring to the end of the bee season will make requeening flexible and allow the continued use of performing queens that can be retired (or if needed used) to nucleus colonies as the season progresses.