The task was to locate this 'emergency queen cell' I thought I saw when I transferred the colony from G's old hive to my brand spanking new hive.
Now a bit of an explanation is in order at this point I think. If you have a look at this post you can see how my hive goes together. Have a good look (I'll be asking questions later. Ed.).
Ok. When I got my bees they were all in the bottom box, known as the brood box. This part of the hive is where the queen bee lays her eggs, the subsequent generations of bees. On top of that then would go a queen excluder, which is a thin perforated sheet which has holes large enough for the workers to crawl through but, as the queen is bigger than the workers, she can't crawl through these holes. So she can't go 'upstairs' in to the box on top which is known as the 'super'. This box holds all the stores, nectar, pollen, and eventually honey! So there'll be no brood in the super, just stores (honey) which makes it easier to extract it to go into lovely jars!
With me so far? (No. Ed.)
Ok. I'd seen this queen cell. It looks like a sort of wax ball that sticks out quite a way from the other hexagonal cells. The queen is bigger remember. The worker bees create queen cells when the existing queen is in decline, not laying well or dead. An emergency queen cell would be the bees response to something catastrophic to the hives wellbeing. No queen = no eggs = no future! Emergency queen cells tend to be placed in the center of a frame on the frame in the center of the brood box.
So G and I went in to find the cell and / or (hopefully) the queen.
|Puffing smoke gently over the bees to|
move, calm and warn them I'm coming in...
|My bees are very placid, just a gentle hum.|
Really calming to be honest, no really!
So now we had to find her. Although she's bigger and longer than the other bees in the colony, she ain't easy to spot.
|See her? No me neither...|
|She's quick too. Running around all over the frame.|
|All sorts on this frame: eggs, hatching|
new bees and stores
So then on went the crown board then the lid. Then I left 'em to it. They really are busy at the moment, zooming off to get stores.
I'm really fascinated by all this stuff. What's so encouraging is that I enjoy being around the bees. They'll crawl around on me, bees flying around my head, the loud humming of thousands of bees right in front of me, but it's strangely relaxing, I can't explain it.