Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bees - Dead Queen

This past week my mission was to release the new queens. They had been spending time in the hives in queen cages, waiting for the worker bees to get use to her. Hive #1 went without a hitch. Donning only a shower cap (to prevent bees from getting tangled in my long hair) and using a smoker, I was able to open the hive and gently release the queen. She immediately scurried down into the hive. Success! 

Hive #2 went just as smoothly. No objections from the bees. Their queen looked active and beautiful. As soon as she was released, she crawled right down between the frames and into the hive. Success #2. 

Hive #3 started out ok. The bees gave me no trouble. I didn't suspect any problem because as with the other two hives, there were plenty of bees gathering around the queen cage. But when I inspected the cage I could immediately see that the queen was dead. Bummer. What went wrong? I haven't the foggiest. I gave the hive a bit of a check but didn't see any queen cells. So another queen wasn't the cause. 
(Above - dead queen. The green dot on her back is marking paint. Marking the queen makes her easy for a person like me to find her in the hive. The marking paint doesn't hurt her.) 

Now what? I called my mentor for advice, assuming the I would have to call Kona Queen for a replacement. Being a novice, I wanted to make sure that I would be doing things correctly. Since I was going to be out of town for the next two days, my mentor offered to order the queen, pick her up, and install her into my hive. Fabulous! My shining knight to the rescue. Thank you! 

I'll let you know how the second attempt goes. 
The dead queen. The box is what she arrives in. She has several attendants worker bees with her. On the left side of the box is bee candy, which the workers eat. I removed the screen when I attempted to release the queen, but normally it covers the top of the box. 

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