Thursday, July 3, 2014

Shipped in a New Queen

Try as they might, the hive could not make a viable queen for what ever reason. So last week we ordered a queen from Ruhl Bee supply in Portland. She was delivered Tuesday morning and I was there by 1 pm to pick her up.

Me in full bee gear.

This just happened to be the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures reaching in the triple digits, so I had to wait to open the hive when the sun went down a bit. 

Most of the frames have capped honey around the top of the comb.

The capped honey is becoming more plentiful!

You can see the little queen cage on the top of the bars and my instructions from Ruhl on how to install the queen in the cage.

The girls were really happy about meeting their new queen.

There was some spotty egg laying going on in the hive and I think it will all be drones. This is a sign that the workers are laying eggs.

Some more grubs toward the bottom of one of the comb.

Bees saying hi to their new queen.

This frame was loaded up with pollen and honey!
You can see the capped honey in white at the top and the pollen and nectar that has almost filled the rest of this frame.

 Observations:
I entered the hive at 8:10 pm after a 100+ degree day. It was sunny, and the temperature was about 85 degrees. I noticed a significantly less amount of bees than just a few weeks ago. As I pulled the frames of comb out I noticed they had capped more honey and filled some with pollen. There was only one queen cell that I destroyed but there was other capped drone brood laid in a spotty pattern on one frame along with some larvae. I assume the workers are now laying and I hope putting the new queen in the hive will turn this around.
video

I laid the queen cage on top the the hive bars and about 25 bees came and started examining the new comers. There was no aggressive behavior so decided to go ahead with the installation. While she was sitting up there, she began piping! That was the coolest think I have ever heard.
video

I first examined all of the frames for an existing queen or evidence of one. I only found one queen cell but no queen. I then had to get the hive ready to take the new queen and according to the instructions I was to wedge it in between two pieces of comb at a 45 degree angle. So I did the best I could. The comb was super soft because it had been so hot outside that day, and since these are top bars, it was a bit tricky.

I put her in and pressed the frames together to hold the queen cage in and loaded up the rest of the frames. The bees immediately started pouring down that one frame to meet and greet their new queen. I put the hive back together and must now wait one week before I can go see how things are going.
video


The following is an examination of the queen cell I pulled from the hive.

I had to pull out any queen cells in the hive. I only found this one and it had a pupae in it!

This was the end they capped off.

Here is a developed queen pupae.

The queen pupae still in the cell I gently pulled out of the hive.

Here is a queen pupae I pulled out of the cell.

I am crossing my fingers in hope that this works and we save the hive. Wish me luck!