Thursday, April 20, 2006

Birthing Queens

I spent the day finishing up the driveway apiary, and found three more hives that had already swarmed. I foolishly thought that if they had enough room they'd stay put. No, these are Russians who swarm fast in the spring.

In one hive I saw several queen cells that had hatched, but there were at least a dozen more that hadn't. I could tell a couple were cutting themselves out, so I helped them. Light brownish with darker tips, like identical twins. So, I cut out about five to save for another hive, putting them in my little bucket. By the time I had gotten to the next frame of bees, and saw more queen cells I could hear the queens croaking, creaking, and quacking to each other, and making very high pitched buzzing sounds, like a plane getting ready to take off. They were all ready to hatch! So, I watched them come out, find each other, move away and get a deep draft of nectar from a cell, and run over the worker bees with their wings buzzing full tilt. In that hive they were all identically marked. I just sat there and watched. Some flew up and then landed, others ran down to the other side of the frame. I finally put that frame back and worked on the rest of the hive.

Each frame was similar. Finally, I looked into the bucket where I'd put the cells I'd cut out to make sure they were all OK, and they'd hatched, too. I found about three queens. When I was closing that hive up I kept finding queens wandering around, on the sides, in the grass, etc. No telling what I did to their impressionable minds.

I found three hives like that, made up a 5 frame medium nucleus with two new queens and a queen cell, three frames of almost hatching workers and pollen and a full frame of honey/nectar. I hope it takes.

1 comment:

Cliff Morrow said...

You've swamped my brain again.