Friday, July 23, 2010

The Queen is dead, long live the Queen

Hey all,
Well wow a little while since the last post. Oops, time is indeed flying.

Ok so here is a queen bee update. Over the last 3 inspections I continued to see new supercedure cells being built and then torn down like they couldn't make up their hive mind that the queen needed to bee history. Chicks. So, I forced the issue. I did so by finding the queen, putting her and the frame full of bees she was on, and 3 more frames full of bees, honey and brood into another hive I had prepared.

I took that hive with the bees and closed it up with grass and brought it down to the barn to hold onto for a few days. The idea is to split them, and to keep it closed stops them from just flying back to the original hive.

Today I moved that hive to it's new home and opened it up. In minutes I could see bees taking short flights to orient themselves to the new location. They do this by flying wide loops in the air around and around going up and up until they come down and land and then do it again until they can identify the hive from whichever angle they are flying. This too is how you can have many hives next to one another and the bees can still find their way home to the right one.

Hopefully this hive will survive. They have a queen, comb, food, and brood. This hopefully will help jumpstart them and they too will survive. I will requeen this hive and the original hive as well to stay in control of their genetics in due time.

Speaking of the original hive they are happily raising multiple queen candidates even bigger than before (I guess the need to get a replacement is serious now.) Within a week or so there should be a new queen. She will emerge, kill all the other candidates or fight them to the death anyway and then it's off to loosen the maidenhead with as many males as she can find. Oh and get this--Strange as it sounds there are predetermined and long standing drone/queen meeting areas. I know what you are thinking but it is true, or many bee researchers believe it is true. It is kind of like 'spring break', but for bees and I suppose 'spring break' has less male deaths due to sexual activity. Oh snap male deaths you say? Don't forget, the male's sex organs are ripped off of his body and stay in the queen until the next drone goes to bat who removes it and then gets busy. Wow, read that again guys. I mean really, for me, I've thrown away my share of other's socks but sheesh the previous player's junk? Man Mother Nature is a double bitch sometimes. But I digress.

Once she is swelling with the genetic materials she returns to the hive to begin laying eggs for the rest of her life. After 21 days of laying that first egg her line will begin to emerge, at least I think it's 21 days. Regardless, I will be introducing a new queen in September probably and her 'bees gone wild' reign of terror will be truncated.

Until then I am waiting for my other bait hive to attract a swarm. It won't. I'm not just being pessimistic here but "a swarm in July is not worth a fly" as they say which means if a swarm does get attracted it will be weak, probably moving due to disaster and probably not going to survive being as how they have no resources and moving so late in the season. I need to set my bait hives out in early spring to catch a good one which is what I will do next year. Lesson learned. If I do get one now at least I'm ready for it.

Well that's about it, it's late and we are watching "true blood".
See ya and thanks for stopping by, stay safe out there!

PS I will be live at 'Fire School' learning how to be a fireman. Hopefully they will have internet in the dorms and I will be able to do updates all week and maybe with pictures. Stay tuned!

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