It’s summer again in Wyoming. And just in time, as the winter runoff and the last spring storm has the North Platte River running at maximum without flooding.
Introducing queens is a risky business. Seems most beekeepers have their own methods. And methods often completely contradict each other. I’d like to see a study on the different methods.
The first think I do is look for eggs. Eggs indicate a queen is present and must be removed. While looking, I found one that I expected. And two that I didn’t expect.
Then attendants worker bees are removed from the queen cages using a extra veil as a wire muff.
The new queen and cage is put into the hive. It is turned sideways for maximum exposure of the hive bees to the queen. A little beeswax and royal jelly is smeared on the cage if queen cells are available. And one side of the cage is embedded in the center of the broodnest.
The hive is closed up and not disturbed for at least a week. And any disturbance after that is minimal and without smoke.
The Zia queens arrived in good shape and are now in the hives. It’s been a long time since I purchased any queens. And I always do so with some trepidation. Most of the time, I loose at much as I gain.
But this time it’s different. I would have raised cells off of my surviving hives. But they were a little more buzzy than I liked. And they were sensitive to odors and were followers, traits that they’ve inherited from the Russian part of their Russian/Weaver/Harbo lineage. I’m interested in discovering what kind of bees other natural beekeepers are using.
So, the task at hand is to get these little guys robust enough to overwinter. They will spend about three more weeks at this location. Then they will be moved into the agricultural projects. Where, with about three full brood cycles left before the season ends, they should reach their maximum potential.