Monday, 24 May 2010

Old Queen Bess

This is a rather interesting photo by Gina, which deserves a closer look with the larger version (by clicking on the photo).

In it we can see colourful pollen in the cells many of which has young grubs and some have eggs. This frame is from the new hive: Hv2. It is doing very well, the queen is laying well. The whole colony is busy and developing nicely.

The same cannot be said about Hv1 and its 'virgin' queen. I had given this queen a number of weeks to see if it will do its busy, but like old Queen Bess of ye old Tudor England she just won't reproduce. When I checked last time over a week ago she was seen wondering around rather aimlessly. I was advised to give it another week and see.

Yesterday I opened Hv1 and checked once more. I wasn't hopeful. My fellow beekeeper, Christine, was once again at hand to help. She observed that comparing with Hv2 the bees in Hv1 are too docile and seemingly without purpose, I agreed. The workers collective in Hv1 must have had enough of old Queen Bess for she is no where to be seen. We concluded that there had been a palace coup and the queen was got rid of. After a quick discussion we decided to try moving a frame with broods from the other hive and allow the workers to raise a queen. A quick phone call to my friends, Mike and Jenny, confirmed that it is something worth trying.

In the fading evening sunlight we spent sometime deciding which frame from Hv2 is best for the job. We have to use a frame that has young grubs as well as eggs. This will give the Hv1 a fighting chance. After much discussions we decided on a frame with eggs, young grubs and sealed brood cells. Christine reasoned that as the hive is already in decline due to the non-laying queen it would be good if we have some young bees from the sealed brood cells. In the event the workers failed to raise a new queen as least we shall have some new worker bees to keep the hive going. Of course in that scenario I shall have to unit Hv1 ans Hv2 in order to have one strong colony.

Now I just have to wait for things to happen, or not.

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