Friday, June 17, 2016

RIP Queen Beatrix

After a pretty normal inspection a few weeks ago, today I checked on the hive and there were queen cells. This is what the bees do when they need to replace the queen. I surmised that Queen Beatrix was either dead or not doing well and that I needed to inspect the hive.

Starting from the back of the hive, I did clean out the large bit of comb that had fallen off before that the bees had not removed on their own. I was concerned that it was getting in the way of the new comb they were building. Those new combs are white, with some honey in them.

Moving toward the center of the hive, there was a comb that was almost entirely capped worker cells. There were some drone cells. There was a LOT of honey. I found a couple more queen cells, all on the edge of the comb which is a good sign that this is a true queen and not an emergency queen. Some combs were almost completely empty. Even more forward I found some larvae but nowhere in the hive did I find eggs. That suggests the queen died 4-9 days ago. Granted, I have never been able to find eggs whenever I've looked, nor have I ever been able to identify the queen.

The other issue is that there is a lot of cross comb construction going on. This means that the bees are not exactly following the guide of the top bars to build their comb; instead the comb will be attached to two bars. In the process of trying to inspect the hive I had to separate a lot of it. No doubt the bees are unhappy with this but I had no choice. I did also damage one of the queen cells in the process of trying to get the comb out; after this I was less excited about getting the rest of the bars out. I looked at all but 3 of the bars.

Ultimately I'm not sure if I should let the hive form a new queen naturally or if I should buy a new queen, and I did sent a note to my beekeeping connection. I may have to ask on the forum and see what people say.

At some point a bee managed to get INSIDE my veil. I took it off but couldn't get it back on easily so by then I was trying to close it all up and managed to do so without the veil. The bees were rather angry and I had to keep getting them out of my hair. Literally. Not one of my best moments, for sure.

Sting count: 1.
Total sting count: 4.

2 comments:

  1. The queen is dead, long live the queen!

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  2. Will you re-name a new queen? or just go with Beatrix 1,2,3 etc. like Elizabeth 1st, 2nd, etc.?

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