I checked my bees yesterday and in one of the hives I found the queen – yes, I actually saw the queen. This never really happens, I look and she hides. We play this game week after week during the summer – I think she has heard of my republican and regicidal tendencies so she plays it safe.
As soon as I saw her, clutching the frame in my left hand I reached into my bee box for the crown of thorns queen catcher – I was going to try and mark my queen.
I placed the crown of thorns on top of the queen and possibly squished it down a little too vigorously – luckily I managed not to impale her nor to squash her to death with it.
Now I had the queen safe, I had a moment or two to find my marking pen. Of course it didn’t work to start with. Again, I just managed not to squash her by jabbing the pen on her thorax too forcefully.
Then I released her, put the frame back in the brood box and carefully replaced the other frames, pushed them together without, I hope, squashing her.
I was ecstatic and you know what, for a moment, just a brief moment, I felt almost like a proper beekeeper – it must be the shed!
N.B. I marked her blue
N.B. Sorry for the poor quality photos, but have you any idea how hard it is to hold a frame with one hand and take a photo with your phone with the other while wearing thick gloves that are pretty sticky with propolis and honey?
N.B. Something odd is happening with the bees – there is a lot of drone brood – this entire frame was pretty much drone brood.
N.B. what about the swarming – the original hive doesn’t seem to have swarmed – still full of bees and OK temperament, but no sign of eggs so it looks like the queen is gone. There there are not many bees in the new hive and no eggs – so maybe the queen left with the flying bees that would have, in theory, returned to the new hive in the old location? In both hives I have put a frame with an unsealed queen cell with a queen larvae in each – hopefully we will get new queens soon.