Monday, May 3, 2010

Queen watch

Sunday, May 2 we took a quick peek in the green hive. We had marked the frame with the supersedure cells with a thumb tack so we could find it quickly. After a short smoke we opened the hive and removed one frame #1. The outside frames are not yet built up with comb and removing one allows you to lift out the frames that are built out and covered with busy bees.

There had been three supersedure cells on the marked frame. The first one we looked at was open at the bottom. These cells are roughly in the shape of a peanut shell. Opened a the bottom means the queen has emerged. The other two cells were opened at the middle which means the new queen found them and disposed of the competition.

We looked for a while trying to spot her but did not find her. Hopefully she has flown off to mate. The queen matures after three days and takes flight to mate. She will find where the drones hang out. They have a congregation spot, kinda like teenage boys hanging out on Main Street hoping to meet girls. Drones will be there from other hives so this keeps the gene pool good. There do not need to be drones in the colony for the queen to go on her flight and find them.

There are a few capped brood cells on this frame. No sign of eggs or larvae. All other frames have honey, pollen, and nectar but no brood cells. We will check back in a few days.

In retrospect we should not have removed the supersedure cells that we found at first. We should mark the queen for easy identification. Next time we purchase a queen we will asked for her to be marked. It is often difficult to find the queen among several thousand workers.

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