Today I lifted the lid on a beehive and did not expect much. I expected a queen less hive or a hive with an un-mated queen. The numbers of bees started at a healthy number which raised the first eyebrow for me. Then, as I shuffled through the frames, I discovered that they were full of baby bees in all stages of development including a lot of sealed baby bees. The pattern of laying was textbook perfect and was a sign that we have a new queen at the cottage. Thought will now have to be put into the naming of her and we are curious what her offspring will look like and behave like. If our new queen has mated with non native bees then her offspring could end up as all sorts. Time will tell.
The new queen had not only demonstrated her health but she seemed keen to make an impact in the hive. She had filled a lot of frames with baby bees. Even more frames were filled than her mother Grelder is working on (I inspected her today too). My philosophy for beekeeping is; prepare for the best but expect the worst. So although I was more than pleasantly surprised at the new queen and her work, I was ready for the best possibility; I had prepared a super of fresh frames ready to put honey into. With the super in place I left her in peace just as one of the bees stung me on the knee.
After the high I had to deal with the low. The hive which housed Tooter before she ran away had no signs of a mated queen. I had a small nuc ready to put them into but the numbers of bees seemed a wee bit big for the nuc. Instead, I removed a few empty frames and slotted in a dummy frame to reduce the space they needed to heat. This little hive will need a couple more weeks to see if anything develops. Time will tell.