YH2 Makes a Come-Back

August 17, 2013 (Day 99) – Requeening Yellow Hive 2 (YH2)

Our Texas Queen Arrives via USPS

Last week YH2 was in dire straights. Still no queen to be found, no brood, and their activity seemed lifeless. They’d been like that for at least a month, despite my attempts to transfer brood from GH1, condensing the hive down to 3 boxes, and adding some pest control tactics. So I broke down and ordered a new queen from Texas.

We anxiously tracked her arrival.  She was shipped on Tuesday and she was scheduled to arrive on Friday – the one day that the hubster and I had planned on going away overnight. The hubster’s buddy was kind enough to pick her up and he dropped her off at our house on Saturday.  So she was there when we got home.

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She is a nice large healthy marked queen, confined in a tiny little queen cage with 4 or 5 attendants. I was anxious to get her out of that cage, so I suited up and got ready to make the introductions.

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Red dot marks the queen!

The Acceptance Period

A queen must be accepted slowly by her new colony. If she is released directly, then the other bees will think she is an intruder and they will kill her. Also, if she is released and the old queen still exists in the hive, then the two queens will fight to the death and the strongest will survive.  So to make sure my $50 queen was safely accepted into YH2, I first had to do a thorough inspection to verify whether the old queen was still in the hive.

A Surprise in YH2

Box 3 is filled with heavy frames of stored sugar syrup honey. Each frame must weigh at least 5 lbs each, so the box itself weighs about 50 lbs.  These frames will keep the girls well fed throughout the winter.

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I worked my way down to Box 2. I pulled the second frame and the hubster pointed and yelled “what the heck is that”. I flipped the frame over. Low and behold, there was a beautiful, large, long sleek, unmistakable unmarked queen.  I don’t know when, how, who, what, where or how, but YH2 requeened itself!  I looked and never found a queen cell, so this was the last thing we expected to find.

I’m thrilled that YH2 has such a gorgeous queen, and I’m also thrilled that the hubster (yes, he saw her first) and I were able to identify her unmarked.  We were so excited we forgot to take a picture.  Ugh!  We pulled more frames and found capped brood, larvae, and eggs.  None of this existed a week ago.  The young queen is laying well.

Now What?

And then confusion hit.  Now what?  I have a $50 queen that needs a hive.  I’m not going to requeen GH1 since that queen is doing great too. I’m learning to have faith in the girls, they’ll do what’s best for the hive, given time; and I will think twice before spending money on another queen.  Unless I attempt to sell her to someone in my bee club, we really have only one option.

So off I went to buy a new shade of paint…

to be continued…

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