A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Updates from the Queen Castles

It went into the upper 80’s today, in Richmond, Virginia. The honey bees were working hard and all starters in the home yard looked great. I had to get home to cut the grass and then check my Queen Castles. A Queen Castle is designed to help you raise queens. It is effectively a Deep Super that has been divided into three chambers, each with a half-inch (or so) hole that allows the bees to come and go (each hole is on a different side of the super.) Each section holds three frames.

Last week, I found a zillion queen cells in Larry (for the umpteenth time) and ended up taking a ton of them to stop the hive from perpetually swarming. I placed them in the pair of Queen Castles that I had invested in for raising Queens (I had this targeted for May), as I was out of Nuc bodies. That was 5 days ago.

Four days ago, I had checked them again to give them some honey (I had only put one frame in each, as I was really running an experiment, but then started to get paranoid that they probably didn’t have any foragers, so needed both pollen and honey.) In QC A, it looked like the queen cell might be damaged. But, in QC B, I found two brand new queens hopping about the frame (when they are small, they seem to run about a bit more and raise/lower their small abdomens a lot, making it sort of look like they are hopping.) So, I took one of the young queens and dropped it into QC A (what the heck – I still had another capped cell in B anyway.)

Today, I checked the QC’s again. This time, I found three with large or nearly large queens and one with a young queen. One had a queen cell where a queen had emerged but no queen was there (the amount of fanning they ALL did when I opened the hive seems to indicate to me that she was not home and may have perished on the mating flight) and the other had a queen cell that was still capped (and the capped looked weird, so I am not so sure that this one is viable.)

All told, I have 4 queens from this experiment. BUT (and this is key), none of the QC sections had many bees. In fact, I discovered that, in my haste (I was frustrated when I did this), I really only moved over frames of honey/nectar that the bees had built queen cells on. This means that many of the bees were probably foragers that returned to Larry, the mother hive, when they first went out. These bees cannot protect this honey, but I have never experienced robbing at this time of year. Small Hive Beetles, however, are a different story.

I need to formulate a plan. I will probably need a queen for at least one of my questionable hives in Charles City. But, I really wanted to be able to make that call next weekend (or this weekend.) I am pretty certain that these bees are at serious risk with so few gals. I even wonder if it could negatively affect the queen. The books that I have stress the importance of having a strong hive build the queen cells, but what happens if the queen emerges in a weak hive? Well, I will know soon enough.

The weather forecast for the next couple of days seems to indicate rain and ‘iffy’ beekeeping weather. More then likely, these things will need to wait until Thursday, when I can hopefully take some brood from a couple of my Nucs and maybe the Mosely hive near Shirley Plantation. One of them, I will leave alone just to see if it can make it with a handful of bees at this time of year (I doubt it, but who knows.)

The adventure continues.

1 comment to Updates from the Queen Castles

  • Doug Ladd

    why not just shake some nurse bees into them? this way you wouldnt be weakening your donor hives too much by stealing brood and bees?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>