Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Split it!

Hey, we've now doubled our number of beehives.  It was nice day, upper 6o's and clear, little breeze--great day to do this.  We had no advance warning, just knew the queen would arrive sometime after the third week in April. We got a call from the post office this morning saying they had a package with live queens in it and we could come pick it up before the post office opened if we wanted.   I did wait until after it was open.  The bees were in a thin white envelope, with holes in it clearly marked "LIVE QUEEN".  It said to keep it out of the sun.  She thought there could not possibly be a live queen bee in there and thought it had to be larva.  I told her it would be in a cage in the package, too it out, checked and everything seemed fine.  The queen and her attendants (about 4) were in a small plastic container with a tube on one end and a plug in a hole next to it.Plastic JZ-BZ Queen Cage (100 count)  There was  masking tape around the tube.  I was not sure whether or not I was to open the small plug and replace it with a marshmallow, remove the tape, or what.  So I called the company, B&B Honey Farm www.bbhoneyfarms.com.  They were very helpful and told me the tube was filled with queen food and I needed to remove the masking tape and place the container between brood frames with the tube in an upright position, in case one of the bees died and blocked the exit for the queen.  
We took everything out and set it up.  Kathy's brother, Jon, took some video while we went through the frames.  The bees were a bit upset at first but settled down very nicely and I had no trouble examining the frames.  We went fully through the two top boxes without finding her, so we put the new queen in the new hive and made sure each had equal amounts of brood and honey and closed them up. Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed.  We'll check in 3 days to see if she has left her cage and both hives for new larva in about 10 days.  Pretty exciting.

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