Monday, July 18, 2011

The Day Before The Expensive Queen Arrives

The seventh day of the seventh month of the eleventh year. Sounds auspicious! That is the day the queen was scheduled to arrive and arrive she did. But not before I had the little nucleus colony prepared and waiting. Many days beforehand the support colonies had been chosen, inspected and carefully arranged and in the late afternoon of the day before she arrived, which was nice and sunny, I made up the nuc.

I had some nice combs picked out from previous visits, full of nectar and pollen, and I grabbed these first.  Then from a second colony I added frames of about to emerge brood and young bees. The colony was quite large with three deeps and a couple supers and loaded with nectar. I tried to shake bees into the box but it got quite messy with a shower of nectar covering everything. I tried to brush them off frames with a feather and that was somewhat effective, but still pretty sticky. I kept track of the queen so she wouldn’t be involved and the whole thing took much longer than I had hoped. Still, the bees were even tempered and getting fatter by the minute lapping up all that nectar. The only stings I received were ineffectual ones in my fingertips, hardly noticeable at the time, but a little numb the next morning.

Eventually I had a box with a lot of bees in it which I set beside the parent colony, greatly reduced entrance facing the opposite way.

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