I can’t believe it, but they did it–we have a queen! I inspected the hives today and found 6-7 bars full of brood in the first hive. Let’s all do the happy bee dance! What a sigh of relief. I found the queen on bar 10. Do you see her?
She’s just below the central empty spot near the bottom. Shiny & orange.
Then I moved to inspect hive #2. Pulled all the bars, didn’t see a queen. What? I start to doubt myself and get that icky feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know I shook off that comb of larvae to make sure I didn’t accidentally transfer this queen to the other hive. Hmmm… I see lots of capped brood which means there was a queen at least 7 days ago….which is about when I transferred that comb*. Crap. I may have royally (excuse the pun) screwed up. What if I mistakenly put this queen in the other hive and now these bees are queenless? UGH!
I check every bar as I go down the whole hive. Nothing. No new, open brood. But then I start to wonder that one week wouldn’t be long enough for hive #1 to raise a new queen, have her mate and start laying. Plus, I didn’t see any queen cells on the transferred comb (though I suppose they could have removed them). Where did she come from?
Okay, I need to look again. I check the bars as I put the hive back together. Somewhere around bar 6 or 7 a worker decides I’ve been peering in through their roof for too long and stings me on the pinky finger. Yes, I had one glove off because I aspire to eventually work gloveless, but need to mentally work up to it. So much for that. I immediately take my rings off because we all know my fingers are going to look like sausages tomorrow.
But I can’t let it deter me from finding the queen. At the very least, I have to close up the hive before I go inside. I sort through a few more bars and THERE on bar 11–the queen! Hallelujah. We have two queenright hives! Amazing insects, these girls.
I can now breathe easy and let them go about their work for a few weeks before another check. What a great way to go into a sunny weekend!
*I looked back at the blog and found that I actually transferred the comb on May 20th which would be 11 days ago. It takes about 23 days from egg for a new queen to be fertile, so even if the larvae were 3 days old when transferred, she’d still only be 14 days old & still two days from hatching. So, what the hell happened? I have no idea. Is it possible that I missed the queen before? Maybe, but they still didn’t have any brood, so why wasn’t she laying? One possibility is that they’d already made a new queen and she was newly mated and coincidentally didn’t start laying until after I transferred the brood. I guess I don’t really care as long as she’s here now. Just weird. Always learning with honeybees!