Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Adventures in Beekeeping: Swarming
Remembered I showed you this photo of a swarm cell and said I had a sad story to accompany it?
The longish version of this story is we had an overcrowding issue in one of our hives. When the hive is feeling crowded the queen and half of the bees will swarm to find a new location. However, they don't leave the remaining bees high and dry- they create a new queen.
Swarm cells are peanut-shaped that house a new queen and are located on the bottom of the frame. Usually the bees will create a couple of queens, just in case one doesn't work out. The first queen to emerge will destroy her sisters. There's only room for one queen!
In a desperate attempt to keep the hive from swarming, ThatGuy and I cut out and the swarm cells. We went back a week later and found more swarm cells and cut them out again. Then we realized... the hive had already swarmed! It was down in bee population and had no queen- and we just killed their future queens!!
We ordered a new queen from R. Weavers Apiaries in Texas- a Buckfast queen. She arrived last weekend via UPS in a giant envelope and was installed in the queenless hive. Hopefully she'll be accepted soon so we can save our hive!
We've never been so happy to see a bug! We paid $2 extra to have her marked with a yellow dot on her back. This will make her much easier to spot in the hive.