Friday, July 9, 2010

Rockin' the vote, the honey bee way

Hello there party people and welcome back,

Here are some bee pictures I promised from the last inspection:
Here is a good one Emiloo shot. It is a closeup of one of the frames of honeycomb the bees have built up. The dangly thing in the middle is what a "supercedure cell" looks like. In bee terms it means "Bitch gotta go." The supercedure cell is where a new queen is reared to take over the queenship of the colony. The colony (of mostly females remember) decides when and if this happens. Only they know why the current queen needs replacing (she's not laying, she's gone, her pheromones are weak, or just cuz) and this is how it starts. There are multiple cells in the hive at the moment and whichever one emerges first will kill the current queen and all others and then assume control of the hive. This is also how you can buy a impregnated queen from an apiary and replace one that is not performing well, which causes the hive to think a stronger queen has emerged and kills the current weaker queen.

"Re-queening", done by a beekeper, is very similar in outcome to supercedure. The only difference is when you buy a queen you know what DNA you are getting. A superceduring hive queen will mate with wild drone bees and lord knows where they have been. This is how hives become 'Africanized' and the bees start showing traits that are, for the beekeeper and anything close to the hive, in a word, undesirable.

Gee what do you do about the supercedure going on you might be asking yourself. Well, there's not much you can do after the ball gets rolling. One thing that I might try is to take the old queen out and put her in a new hive with some of her laid eggs and honey and let them continue on getting bigger and in the old hive allow the supercedure to go on. The old queen lives, the new queen emerges and the beekeeper gets a new hive. Simple right?

I'll let you know what happens once it happens, if it happens.

Thanks for coming by, see ya!

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