bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Queenless wonders

Because I had too many colonies, I gave one away at the weekend. I have Langstroth hives, but the recipient has British National hives (the most common in Britain). So we did a shook swarm -- shaking the bees onto new National foundation -- and tried to ensure that they would take to their new box by adding a frame of National brood. I think all went well at the recipient's end.

However, I had a surprise here. I brought the now useless brood frames back home from the out apiary with the intention of melting them down in my solar wax extractor. But this evening I noticed that there were a few bees milling about the entrance of the old box. A few too many to be robbers. So I checked inside and found one frame heavy with bees. But just one frame and the bees were insufficient to be a newly arrived swarm.

Then it dawned on me: these were ready-to emerge bees from the old colony and they are trying their damnedest to continue as if nothing had happened. I haven't spotted any queen cells yet, but I'll inspect properly tomorrow.



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