A couple of weeks ago I united hive 1 with hive 3 (see here). I also realised that having done an artificial swarm and left a sealed Queen cell in hive 2 there was no sign of a new fertile Queen. I waited and waited but magically one did not appear. I therefore seemed very likely that I would have to unite hive 2 with hive 3 and would only be left with 1 hive – definitely a step backwards as I started this year with 2 happy hives.
Rather despondently, 12 days ago I went to check hive 3. At least the Queen was still alive, the brood box was full of honey, bees and brood. It was so full, the bees had decided to swarm and there were loads of sealed Queen cells. Should I do another artificial swarm? As if by magic the answer appeared by way of the Queen showing herself on the frame I was holding. I had my Queen (no mean feat for me as my Queens aren’t marked because on the rare occasions when I do see them – well her as she is my only Queen – I never have a pen and Queen grabber at hand), I was going to do an artificial swarm. This I did, putting one sealed Queen cell in the newly created hive 4.
But I had some spare Queen cells. I decided to try something and this could go horribly wrong, but really, it can’t go that wrong – surely?? I shook all the bees off one frame that had a queen cell on and I put it in the Queenless hive 2. Maybe it will hatch out and be a new Queen for hive 2 – can that work?
On Monday I went and checked hive 3 – the Queen was still in evidence – there were lots of eggs, larvae and sealed brood. I will have to wait for another couple of weeks to see if hives 2 and 4 have a fertile Queen, but if they do I will suddenly have gone from potentially 1 viable hive back up to 3. Fingers and toes crossed please.
Here is some of the new comb the lovely bees in hive 3 have drawn