Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Release the Queens!

The day has come to release the queens.

We interrupt this broadcast to show you the beautiful way I decorated the hives, which I did with a $15 wood burning kit. Pretty, huh?
Lone Star Hive

Raven Hive

Back to the Queens

I used the smoker for the first time. I was better at getting the smoker started than I was at keeping it going, but I think this is a common problem among new beekeepers.

I smoked Raven, and opened her up. I took out a couple of bars on the end and gently lifted the queen cage up and brushed all the bees off. She was moving around in there and looked good. I pried up the cork and gently held the cage inside the hive for a few seconds. When I checked, she had left the cage. Hopefully she was in the hive. I closed it up and all was well.

Did you see my mistake?

After smoking the girls to calm them down, I opened Lone Star and took out a few bars to make room to get the queen cage out. As I was taking out one of the bars, OH MY GOD!!  There was honeycomb!! I was totally surprised! I forgot they were supposed to be doing this! They have been working working working in there! Look how pretty and white and pristine it is!!

I looked at the rest of the bars and found comb on four or five of them. I was too excited to pay really close attention, which I should have done. But I did notice that they were all straight, none were cross combed (attached to each other), and I didn't see any burr comb (comb attached to places where it shouldn't be, like the side walls or the floor). They are good little bees and are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing!!  Yay, bees!

So did you see my mistake? When I released the queen in Raven, I neglected to look at all the bars to see if they had comb yet. So I opened it up again and checked. There were indeed combs, but there weren't as many and they were smaller. I think my not securing the cage and it falling to the bottom of the hive slowed them down. Hopefully they will persevere in spite of having an ignorant but well-meaning beekeeper.

So, all in all, it was a very exciting venture into the hives!

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