Sunday, July 26, 2009

Long Live the Queen!

Sorry about the royalist-sounding title but we're so relieved!

We inspected the hive Saturday, fairly early as the air temperature was rising.  With our confidence at opening up the hive and the use the smoker to control the bees rising , we were able to look more closely at the contents of the frames themselves.  

After speaking to a fellow novice (Thanks, Aine) recently I realised that I should be concentrating on finding the Queen by her shape and movement rather than the green marking (small drop of paint on her back behind her head) which we were told she carried.

With two of us looking on the frames (front and back simultaneously) we could be more thorough.  Anyway, Elva, my fiancee and fellow novice, noticed the large body size and speed of movement of a bee just as she disappeared to the back of the frame.  I had seen real-life marked Queens at previous demonstrations  but I was really truly surprised at her size and her speed across the frame.  [The marking itself was extremely pale and wasn't much help at all.  Her clipped wing confirmed her identify!]  It's incredible we missed her before!

I guess the freshness of her mating (2 or 3 weeks) means her body is at its maximum which may explain her size.  I wonder if her speed is  due to her youth.

Anyway, with our Queen (christened Beatrice) appearing in good health with lots of capped and uncapped larvae and pollen, we called it a day.  I replaced the "drop-in" feeder with a rapid feeder to allow for the poor weather forecast again  Another foundation frame added and it was time to leave them alone to continue with their good work.

Jobs for next time - draw the outline of the correctly-aligned rapid feeder on the crownboard before it's full of syrup!  


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