I banked 2 queens in a nook to keep them safe and cared for during these past two rainy days. The nook was created using frames of brood cells and honey and pollen from the other hives. I carried over the nursing bees that were on the frames. The nursing bees will care for both of the caged queens and any frames of brood. Any foragers that were also on those brood frames will return to their own hive before dark.
Today we put the Carniolan queen in hive 1 after being queen free for 24 hours. We uncorked the candy side of the queen cage. In a few days they will eat through the candy cork and release the queen into the hive. In the mean time, they will acclimate to her presence and scent. No top box was added to hive 1. We will check in three days to see if the queen has been released. We will go back in ten days to make sure she is laying.
In Hive 2 we checked for signs of a queen and couldn’t find her and we saw several queen cells which we destroyed. We were thinking of using one queen cell to start a new hive, but hive 2 has defensive genetics so we don’t want to breed her. We put a queen cage directly on the top frames and watched how the bees reacted. They didn’t arch their backs or look like they were trying to kill her. Was it excitement or agitation, we had a hard time determining. We decided to directly release the new queen into hive 2. Also important to note that hive 2 was noisy so we could tell right away that they wasn’t queen right. After we released the queen we added a top box, checkerboarded it and added a beetle blaster. We will check back in again in two weeks. You don’t really want to open the hive again after a direct release because it takes the queen a while to settle in and start laying. After the queen is released you don’t touch the hive for 10 days.
Hive 4 was in great shape so we added a top honey super.
Hive 5 was in good shape so we added a top honey super.
Hive 6 died over winter.
Hive 7 had swarmed the previous day so we assumed they would need a queen, but during the hive check we found a queen. Was this a queen for an after swarm? Or an after, after swarm? We didn’t know. We will come back in a few days and check on her.
Nook: The third queen that arrived from California we kept in the nook. We wanted to release her and start a new hive, but for some reason the bees in the nook seemed aggressive towards her and the queen didn’t want to come out of the cage, so we put the candy cork back in and let her stay in her cage in the nook a little longer.