Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Queen Bee

I am a murderer.
A bee murderer.

One of my hives (#thecombdome) is growing rapidly and producing enough honey that I should be able to harvest this year. The other hive (#themilehighclub) is the opposite. They are lethargic, have a weak population and are barely producing enough honey to get them through the winter.

I contacted my bee mentor and we agreed it was time to re-queen that hive. The queen rules the hive and when her bees aren't producing, she needs to be de-throned. There are many reasons why a hive could be weak, but this time we felt it was her poor genetics.

So how do you de-throne the queen? Well you need to find her first and then kill her. Sad, but true. Only one queen can live in the hive at a time.

I opened the hive and took out each frame in the top box - no queen to be found. I moved on to the bottom box and by the seventh frame I spotted her. I repeated the instructions I received from my mentor, "Grab her by the wings, pull her off the comb, and then pinch her."

I took a deep breath and grabbed her by the wings.

Then I got scared and I threw her.

Bad idea. Why? Because she could fly right back in the hive. Therefore, I had to get on my hands and knees, in my bee suit, and rummage through the tall grass. Bees were flying everywhere and I was sweating. I kept asking myself, "Why did you throw her!!!" I just don't think its natural for girls to hold insects. Well at least this girl.

Five minutes later, I found her crawling up a stalk of grass and with my big bulky bee gloves, I grabbed her again.

This time I set her on a rock and tramped on her.

I killed the queen bee.

 RIP Queeny

I called my mom and she was terribly sad about this situation. She has a heart of gold and feels the pain of every insect, animal and human that ever has to endure a harmful situation. I ensured her it was the right thing to do. For now the queen is sitting on my kitchen counter. I didn't think twice about stepping on her, but I can't seem to throw her in the trash yet. #beekeeper #literally

Today, I purchased a new queen from my mentor (he raises queen bee's). He captured her this morning and put her inside this small queen cage. Just before putting her inside the hive, we took off the pink cap and stuffed three marshmallows inside. Unfortunately, you can't just drop the queen inside the hive, you actually have to keep her in the cage. Once the other bees get used to her pheromones and accept her, they will eat through the marshmallows and release her.

This was taken just before resting the queen cage on the frames, inside the hive. #stickygloves

The worker bees on top of the queen cage, sniffing their new queen.

It will take several days for the new queen to be accepted, but once she's in, I expect her to turn this hive around. The end goal is not honey this year, but to increase the population of the hive so they have a better chance of surviving the winter. Bee's crossed, I mean, fingers crossed.

The blue hive (#themilehiveclub) is the weaker hive. As you can see, I only have two deep boxes (AKA nursery boxes). Whereas the green hive (#thecombdome) has two deeps, and two super boxes (AKA honey boxes). I should be able to harvest honey from both supers in mid-September! That is a highly populated, hardworking hive. That queen is a lovely lady. Hope my new one is too.

Out with the old, in with the new.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...