Adventures in the land of nucs…

So remember how I thought I maimed Connie’s queen? I’m not sure if I did or not, but if I did, they must have already had a new queen in the works. Because get THIS: there was a laying queen in the hive, about 2 weeks ahead of schedule. What do ya think? Crazy isn’t it?

If I maimed the queen on May 26th, assuming they used a 3-4 day old larvae (the last day that the larva is fed royal jelly before switching to worker bee bread), she would have emerged June 7th at the latest and June 6th at the earliest. So we checked Connie’s purple hive (appropriate that her purple hive houses bees from my purple hive!) and guess what?? A ripped out queen cell….eggs….and (drumroll please) FAT LARVAE!!!! Ready to be capped! So if there was a virgin she’s been laying since last weekend. Clearly anything I may have done to the queen, did not result in those queen cells since there wouldn’t be any eggs until the end of the week at the earliest.

So I figure these are the 3 options:

1. I did NOT maim the queen and they had a queen in the works the whole time (how could we have missed it???) and they just replaced her.

2. I DID maim the queen and they had a queen in the works and they just replaced her with a queen in waiting.

3. The old queen is still there, she killed the virgin and has kept laying. This is my favorite theory but Connie didn’t see eggs or larvae last weekend.

In either case, she has a laying queen a lot sooner than I expected.

The other hive (a green one) is a new nuc she installed 2 weeks ago and had loads of swarm cells. Swarm cells people! It was a nuc from HTKrantz in Frederick and it looked really good. Lots of bees that wanted to swarm… We desperately tried to find the queen to no avail (she was not marked, mind you if she was marked it would not guarantee that we would find her). I wanted to take her out and place her into a nuc and dump lots of bees to make a “fake swarm,” this would make them think a swarm had occurred and hopefully stave off an actual one. But failing that, we took out frames of eggs that we thought she would be on, shook some bees into the nuc and called it good. The parent hive didn’t have frames of only nectar/honey for us to shake forager bees off of so we settled for taking whatever bees we could get.

The plan at this point is to recheck the hives either Wednesday or Thursday; Connie will look for queen cells in the nuc, if she finds them she’ll know there’s no queen in there and she’s still in the hive. She will look for the queen as hard as she can and IF the queen is located, the queen will be moved into the nuc, any frames with queen cups FROM the nuc will go TO the parent hive, effectively switching them. Our goal is to avoid a swarm, for various reasons. Whether or not she finds the queen, the hive will be given LOADS of space via new frames. 

I’m going to start bringing my camera with me.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed. Oh, and my VSH queen will be ready for me on Monday!


One comment

  1. Bees are always playing these tricks on us. I would seriously consider putting a camera in our hive to see what really is going on, but knowing our bees they’d plug-up the lens with propolis.

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