Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Gypsy Queen

The exceptionally hot days are continuing in London. This morning as planned I went and checked Hv2 to see what is happening to the remaining queen cell I left behind just over weeks ago.

Much to my surprise I found a number of new queen cells on some of the frames. The queen cell found has hatched, but no sign of the new queen. The brood frames are full of honey - too much honey I thought. I had to work out what to do next.

I set about to get rid of the new queen cells and on doing so discovered that they are empty but with lot of what I assumed to be royal jelly! One cell was sealed so I decided to leave this one and prepare to wait another week to see what will happen.

On closing the hive I happened to look down and saw what you can see in this photo: A massive cluster of bees hanging below the mesh floor! It was obvious to me a queen is there. The weight of the bees, pulling on the mesh floor, was leaving a gap from which they can enter and leave the brood chamber. This, I think, explains why there is so much honey in the brood frame. I believe that they were treating the brood box as a Super box. I think this may be the swarm that I thought I lost a few weeks ago. I shall know where to check in the future. Just to think of all places, this queen decided to camp outside the hive. It must be the Gypsy in her.

After a few phone calls, Olivia, a member from my local association came round with a mesh floor. With her help we hived the Gypsy queen colony back into HV2. They had built quite a few combs below the mash floor and were full of honey, but no eggs. While cutting these honey combs out I took time to look for the queen and found her trying to hid at one corner of mesh floor. She is a good looking queen. We shook her and the rest of the workers into the brood box. Having satisfied ourselves that we had her safely in the hive we closed up but before we did so I took out the sealed queen cell. It too was empty with just royal jelly.

One reader on this blog, from California, left a comment saying that the bees do keep me guessing. They certainly do my friend.

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