Sunday, May 30, 2010


I have been on an adventure since opening the hives Thursday night. I worried all night about those queen cells, so I asked for advice from those who would know absolutely. Yep, queen cells! ALREADY!!! Oh My!!!! I thought "but--but--but-- they have over 3 frames of open space! Why????" I was advised of a few things to try, the one thing that got me was "if this was mine, I would split the hive, taking the old queen and putting her and some bees on a drawn out frame into a new box to make them think they swarmed already". That is what I decided to do. It was early in the day when I discovered all this, while I was at work, and not a thing I could do about it. I worried the queen would swarm before I got home, and also, all I had is extra hive bodies, no top or bottom boards! I went in panic mode but had to sit tight until the work day ended. To make matters worse, I could not get a hold of my supplier who had a shop a half hour away from home.

By the time I got off work, my supplier still had not called, so I drove 2 hours from home to the next place, the same place I got my bees from. By the time I got home, it was almost dark and I had to wait ANYWAY until Saturday morning! UGH! I could barely sleep.
Saturday morning, I was up at the crack of dawn. My dearest loving husband, in spite of not having ate breakfast yet volunteered to help me. God bless him!!! We had to walk the dogs. They COULDN'T wait! Right afterwards we went to work, searching for the queen to move into the newest hive. Problem; WE COULDN'T FIND HER!! I took a deep breath, pulled the chair over and searched frame by frame at least 4 times each side for at least 5 minutes per side. I could not find her! What to do?????? In the process of all of that, I didn't pay attention and one little girl got me good, right on the index knuckle. OWWW! In the house---ice---deep breaths. I decided at that point to just calm down. There was nothing I could do if the queen had swarmed already. I was obviously making the girls nervous too.

I had to make a decision. I decided to move one of the frames that had swarm cells (there were 2) over to the new box. I figured both boxes, if in fact there was no queen, could each use a chance to make a new one. I put one frame of drawn comb with eggs, larvae and capped honey into the new box, thinking I can rejoin them later if I need to.
My biggest concern later after talking to those who helped me was.. what if?? What if I just missed the old queen because she had slimmed down preparing to swarm, or there was a virgin queen still too small to notice with my newby eyes?? I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Throughout the day I checked the hives. The apparently queenless main hive was still calm and the bees were still bringing in huge baskets of pollen. The newest hive showed no activity at all except that the half jar of water seemed to be getting empty. Hmmm. I noticed a little puddle on the wood under the hive and thought maybe it was leaking. I seriously believed all the bees went back into the main hive and abandoned the comb, eggs, larvae and honey. I saw NO bees leaving or coming.

Today (Sunday), I debated about just putting the hive back the way it was and let nature take it's course. If the frame was abandoned, there would be no nurse bees to take care of the larvae and babies.

I know I should not do it, but I REALLY didn't want that frame to go to waste. So, I quickly popped the tops off and peeked in. To my amazement, there were MORE bees in there than what I put in! WOW! Ok, some must have hatched. I also noticed more comb built, although a bit wonky. I didn't want to press my luck. I quickly put the top back on and left them alone.

This is a REALLY interesting adventure! A true roller coaster ride for me! Oh! and that bee sting I got? Hurt like bear the first 24 hours, but didn't swell up except for a barely noticeable tiny bit. I am also a quilter and have abused my hands with quilting and crafts to the point I have arthritis in the knuckle below the one that was stung. The pain I suffer in the arthritic knuckle is now GONE! I wouldn't volunteer for stinging on purpose but it IS nice to type and move without pain.

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