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Missing Queens

June 11, 2012

Its been a while since I last posted and it isn't because there isn't anything happening with the hives or I have given up on the bees.  Life can just get way to busy sometimes and although there are 24 hours in the day it feel more like half that. I have fully recovered from my almost deadly encounter with anaphylaxis and feel like the blame should be put on me not the bees as i wasn't really prepared when I was near the hive.  3 days after coming home from the hospital one of the hives decided it was time to swarm, or as Phillip from MUDSONGS.ORG  so eloquently puts it  "they formed a splinter colony" [caption id="attachment_796" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Swarm in a new box Swarm in a new box[/caption] My wife and I managed to capture the swarm and place it in a hive box but  when I returned from work the next day all but a handful of bees had disappeared and the box was empty. A small clump of bees were still in the tree and as my wife shook her head in worry I climbed up on my van and caught the remaining bees in a diaper bucket taped to an old curtain rod. [caption id="attachment_807" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Bee Wrangler Bee Wrangler[/caption] I then tried a paper combine with those bees  and the remaining bees that were still in the original hive that swarmed. After 4 days I checked to see if they had combined and perhaps because there was so few bees in both boxes they hadn't even chewed one hole in the paper. I left the top entrance open for the top box and the bottom for the bottom box in hopes that after we had returned from a trip to Vancouver Island they might combine after the new queen had hatched. [caption id="attachment_808" align="aligncenter" width="600"]2nd swarm in same tree 2nd swarm in same tree[/caption]

Monday May 21 we returned to find a note on our door from a neighbor that said, "May 19th- Your bees have left their hive and are in our tree. You can come and capture them and their queen if you'd like"   I put on my suit and went out in the light rain (it had been raining for a few days) and attempted to capture the swarm, now in 3 distinct bunches, hanging in the tree. They were not as high as the previous swarms so it was not as hard to get them into the diaper bucket on pole contraption. I got the first bunch and put it in the Nuc box. The 2 remaining bunches were placed in the 2nd Nuc box and they managed to all walk across to the one with the queen in it.

[caption id="attachment_809" align="aligncenter" width="600"]2 nucs1 queen 2 nucs1 queen[/caption] As it stands now I have felt that I am a upstanding member of the "Bad Beekeepers Club"  The hives at the community garden are doing well but that could change at any moment.  I guess that my first year beekeeping was a lot of luck and this year is payback and more like real beekeeping.  At home there are now 2 hives that are queenless due to the fact it wont stop raining so more than likely the virgin queens had no chance to get out and mate before they got to old to be viable. I have taken some frames of brood/eggs from the 2 hives at the garden and added then to the 2 hives in the hopes that they will create a queen cell and if the weather cooperates a queen.  I am feeling a bit discouraged but am hopefull the bees will know what to do. [caption id="attachment_813" align="aligncenter" width="600"]bees up close Queenless?[/caption]


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