Last time we wrote about our efforts at requeening, and have been told that it was quite the soap opera. Sorry to leave you hanging if you happen to be as interested in this stuff as we are. It has been a busy couple of weeks! In a really great way though.
|see the marked queen?|
However, the most important one, Quinn (who subbed for Doris), was accepted! I can't tell you how excited to learn this. She was the only hive that we REALLY needed to introduce new genetics to, and the very reason why we needed them requeened was the same reason that made us fear it would be difficult: they're just so mean! In fact, not long after they heard us celebrating Quinn's acceptance, one crawled up my pant leg--finding the one chink in my armor--down my big rubber boot and stung me on the ankle. I didn't even care. In two months (it should take that long for Quinn's bees to really become the hive), that colony will be a completely different animal.
In any case, I think it's easy to relate to the plight of a colony in that situation. Here you are, queenless, with a window of only three days before the old queen's eggs hatch and it will be too late to raise your own (to make a queen workers feed any egg an excess amount of royal jelly). Then here comes this queen in a cage. She's fully grown, yes, but how can you really trust her if you've never seen her lay an egg, knowing that her ovaries are wholly responsible for the survival of your colony? It's crazy! If you take the chance to rear one yourselves, you at least know that she's going to be made of the same stuff that you are. Makes sense.
So here's the fun part, the part that brings us sitting in the back yard with our gin & tonics watching little flags of white dashing through the sky. In order to merge the now-queenless splits we'd made from our package hives, we would have to recombine them with the colonies they came from. We were hoping this wouldn't be too problematic, since the week prior they were all one colony, but there is a little trick you can do when combining a group of bees (queenless) with another group of bees (queenright) to ease
|tissue between bodies|
That's all for now. Next time, honey extraction!!