Tuesday, August 30, 2016

July 11, 2016: Replacing the Queens


So this afternoon my beekeeping mentor arrived with two new queens for me, one for the newly aggressive hive, and one for its sister hive that has been in the process of trying to produce its own queen. He raises queens as a hobby, and the more he can put them in hives around south Amherst, the more he can influence the genetic make-up of all our bees. Since my hives seem to have produced an aggressive, possibly Africanized strain, it's best to replace them.

We cracked open the hives, found the queen in one of them and killed her (ack!), and found all the queen cells in the other and scraped them out. Then we put a small 3x5" screen box in each of them, positioned over a patch of new and emerging brood. He had the beautiful, marked queens in two plastic ventilated cups: as I held one of them the worker bees started to coat my hand and the cup, crawling all over, attracted to her pheromones. We trapped the queens in the boxes, closed up the hives and Bob's yer uncle. We'll go back in a week or so and set them free, and with any luck the bees will be happy.

Sadly, it will take 4-6 weeks before the bees in that angry hive settle down.

Not my queen cage, but mine looked just like this.  This one is from http://www.riskshoney.com/2012/06/12/effective-queen-introduction/

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