How long before…

You’re not a beginner anymore? I know I’m still a beginner. As my husband says tongue-in-cheek “Jeez, Anna, you’ve been doing this for a year now, shouldn’t you know everything by now?”

I write this as I experience the phenomenal guilt that comes from maiming someone else’s queen. Remember last week? Connie and I looked at the nuc I made for her and she did a great job finding the queen? I tried to mark the queen using the queen marking tube, it was a bust so I just did it while she was on the run? Well, Connie did her inspections today and guess what she found?? Capped queen cells. Yes, you read that correctly, CAPPED QUEEN CELLS. Do you want to take a guess why? Because of ME! I maimed the queen! I…can’t….handle….the…guilt. Wine helps.

I feel awful because this sets the hive back a few weeks and their awesomeness has been affected. Because these bees are awesome!

By coincidence, I was at Jim’s this morning and asked him about marking the queen: he picks her up by her wings and then puts her in the marking tube to mark her. He said he has actually ripped the legs off a queen when attempting to hold her on his pointer finger (non-dominant hand) and holding the legs with the thumb and middle finger, as is often pictured. I didn’t rip her legs off but I must have damaged her forelegs which the queen uses to sense the size of the cells and lay the appropriate eggs.

Let me update you about my orange hive: I just ordered a queen! Last week I saw the frame of capped brood that was added 2 weeks ago, Queen Maria had laid eggs in the middle of the frame. Today those eggs were larvae but every cell around them was empty. Nothing being used in the top deep other than those larvae, NOTHING!

Medium below the deep: 1/2 the frames were brood, the remainder were honey and pollen. I saw the queen and watched her for several minutes: she just kept going around to the same cells, which were already filled with eggs, pollen or honey. Queen Maria just seemed…slow. I don’t know how to describe it, something just was not right.

The bottom medium was about 70% brood, actually there were cells with no eggs in them, larvae in some cells but no eggs near them. This hive just hasn’t done as well as I expected it to. I sent an email to VPQueens placing an order for either a virgin queen or a queen cell.

Another thing, they have no stores. Where is the honey? I hope they have better luck with a different queen.




One comment

  1. Don’t feel guilty, there are many expert beekeepers who have had the same thing happen to them. Queens can be tricky to spot. We’re lucky our two new queens both have very orange abdomens, we haven’t marked them yet but they are easy to see on the frames.

    We don’t have honey either, it has been a poor year for foraging because of bad weather. The NBU recently issued a starvation risk for June, so feed your bees lots and they should be ok 🙂

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