21 April 2016

Queen Bee

The hive entrance dusted with yellow dandelion pollen.
Jack can't help himself. He's obsessed. With bees. Really, it's not all that bad because when all is said and done, we get jars and jars of sweet, sticky honey with relatively little work on our part This year is the first year we've successfully kept a hive alive through the winter (hooray!), in part, because they're stock from a local swarm that showed up last summer. They were able to keep those horrible wasps at bay and with some help from Jack, who raided our sugar supply to make sure they had plenty of food through the colder months, they endured winter without any trouble. Now they're flourishing and working like crazy to gather up the bountiful pollen and nectar.
Jack can't help himself. He ordered more bees...
But one hive isn't enough. Jack's been studying up and carefully observing the bees, eventually deciding to split the hives because everyone knows, two is better than one.
The workers making a queen cell.
He donned his bee suit, calmed them with some smoke and split the hive, crossing his fingers that the queen had stayed with the original hive and that the workers at the new hive would make some queen cells. Jack checked and sure enough, the workers had started raising a few of the larva to be queens by feeding them more than everyone else. If eating extra is all it takes to be a queen bee, then sign me up!
The queen and a few loyal subjects, stuck inside a box plugged with candy. That's right: she has to eat her way out!
But, it still would have taken about a month for a queen to be raised and start laying eggs, so Jack ordered a queen bee from a nearby extension office. She took a little trip in the mail and once she arrived, Jack took her out to the hive where we hoped she'd be accepted.
Can you see the queen box?
The workers in the new hive immediately crawled all over the box, excited to have a new queen to worship and direct the work. When she chews her way out of her candy prison, she'll be ready to be doted upon.

Those queen bees really have it made!


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