Having been concerned that Hive Caitlin’s inconsistent brood pattern was caused by either a failing queen or a laying worker, I decided to re-queen this hive. The new queen arrived today by Royal Mail Special Delivery!
Stuart and I went through Hive Caitlin, found and killed the old queen and placed the new queen, still in her box, in the middle of the hive. I felt bad killing the old queen but it’s quite common practice. I had no idea how old she was so replacing her will provide the hive with a new, young queen with a tested laying pattern. She is currently in a box plugged with fondant icing and some worker attendants. The attendants will eat through the fondant and, by the time they have done that, the hive should be used to her pheromones and accept her as their queen. Fingers crossed!
We then inspected Hive Rebecca. Since the last post about the Snelgrove manipulation, there have been various doors opened and closed with the view to keeping the existing queen in the bottom box and creating a new queen in the top box. Well, that was the plan! On today’s inspection there was a big, bold, capped queen cell in the bottom box. This means the bottom box must have swarmed and left a new queen. Precisely what the Snelgrove manipulation was supposed to stop! So now I have to wait a minimum of 15 days to see if this queen emerges safely and gets mated. The supers were looking pretty full, probably one of the reasons they swarmed, so we’ve put on a clearing board and will take one off tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the top box had 3 empty queen cells. Hopefully a good sign that a queen has emerged and is on her mating flights. There were no signs of eggs yet!
The nucs have now officially been named Hive Susan and Hive Claire. We had a quick look in Hive Claire and they’re drawing out the last frames in the box. We’re going to put some supers on tomorrow and give them more space.
As if that wasn’t enough, before all our own inspections, I helped Sandy hive a swarm he’d caught in North Berwick. He wanted me to watch out for the queen – not a job I’m renowned for having success with but my eyesight is better than his! However, I did spot her, on the hive roof of all places, but when I picked her up a gust of wind blew and I thought she’d taken flight – disaster. But, when I turned by hand round, she was still on my glove so I carefully put her at the entrance and watched her walk in. The rest of the bees followed. Amazing to watch.
So that’s 3 queens I’ve seen today. One arrived by Royal Mail Special Delivery, one was dispatched to queen heaven and one was helped into her new home at Sandy’s apiary.