Sunday’s artificial swarm was triggered by me spotting sealed queen cells. This is usually a sign that they have already swarmed and the queen has left, but part of me did not understand why there were still so many bees. I was convinced that she had not swarmed but I could not find her and I did an artificial swarm using a method that did not require finding the queen.
Over the last few days I have become convinced that she did actually leave and I have lost her. I do have a vague recollection of lying on the sofa on Saturday and feeling ill and brimming with self-pity. As I pondered if I had a vomiting bug or man-vomiting bug (similar to man-flu and just as deadly) I heard the lovely Sharon come in from the garden and mention that were quite a lot of bees in front of the hive. A tiny fragment of my mind thought, “that’s interesting” while the rest of me thought, “I think I’m going to be sick again”.
So, with the knowledge that she was lost to me, was left with the decision to recombine the hives and see if the new queen cell will hatch and mate. Or I could buy a new queen to replace the old one then leave the hive with the queen cell to see if it will hatch and mate. The options were to have two hives or back to the one. I decided that two are better than one.
I went into the moved hive with most of the brood frames when I got home from school today. There was still only one closed queen cell . There were a couple of emergency cell started charged with jelly so I broke them down and left the one beautiful classic queen cell.
I went over to the ‘swarmed’ hive with the mind that I would get a nice queen from a beekeeper in Belfast with lots of local queens. I stood at the hive and wondered what point I had looking in as there was no purpose to my inspection. I know that I should not look out of curiosity but I decided to dive in anyway. I did not want to mess about too much so I just went for the one frame of brood I put in. About a third of the sealed brood had hatched since Sunday and there were larvae in nearly all stages. The rest was filled with nectar and pollen. One cell caught my eye and I thought I saw what looked like an egg. It was more than likely the light catching a puddle of nectar. It got my curiosity going enough to feel the need to look at the one frame of stores I slipped into the ‘swarm’. They had completely emptied it and filled it with these……
….AAAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. She loves me, she loves me not, she loves me…………. These are freshly laid eggs. The queen lives! Long Live the Queen!