Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weird and Weirder

A few weeks ago a small swarm showed up in my yard.  They moved into a super of extracted wet frames that had been set out for the bees to rob.

So I let them move in.  I did a brief inspection after a week and saw they were clustered and busy building combs.

After two weeks I saw they had capped cells.  We looked over all the bees and there was no sign of a queen.  All the capped cells were bullet shaped drone cells.

I figured it was a laying worker and that the swarm may possibly have originally come from Hive #2 which did go queenless and ended up with a laying worker.

Since there were so few bees I was going to resolve the problem by doing the shake method - shake them out on the grass and walk away - let them find homes in the other hives.

The other day that's what I did.  When I shook the bees most of them went up in the air.  I then removed the equipment leaving them no home.

They began to gather on the platform where their hive was and several workers started to do home scenting.  I felt bad for them.

A couple minutes later I checked on them.  They were in a cluster.  And in that pile of bees I saw a caramel coloured abdomen.  She was small, but she was there--a queen!

Where on earth did she come from?

Then I realized that I had just shaken them out of their home.  So I quickly put everything back together.  The queen jumped on my hive tool and I set her in the hive.

Then all her workers marched inside while I stood there apologizing for the rude interruption to their day.

4 comments:

Sam Smith said...

If she is only laying drones she might be infertile. I hope she is ok though :)

Jim said...

Yes, I agree with Sam--that was my first thought before I saw his comment. I'd watch them and see if she starts laying any workers. If not, perhaps you'd want to do a combine after removing this young queen, given the lateness of the season. I don't know if new queens start laying before they take their mating flights. You could monitor to see if she starts making workers, and if not perhaps do a combine with another hive after removing her.

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Thanks Jim and Sam. I think you might be right but a second look I'm pretty certain there are worker cells but I will continue to monitor. Otherwise, a combine with another hive and squish the queen.

Kat said...

Oh my goodness! Glad they pulled it all back together.