Sunday, August 25, 2013

One Sheet of Newspaper

After erroneously destroying some queen cells that our North Hive needed, we'd been brainstorming how to help them pick up their numbers again with a new, fertile queen.  The choice of many beekeepers, and a handy option for us this time is to purchase a new one.

We are part of the Tri-County Beekeepers Association, who happened to have a display case at our county fair the beginning of the month.  We visited their booth to talk with some experienced beekeepers about what we should do, and a man there offered to sell us the frame - with a marked, fertile queen - to try and place it in our hive.

Mr. Bee learned from this fellow beekeeper that we should place one layer of newspaper over our North Hive's highest box and then place another box on top of that to hold the frame with the new queen and bees. If we were to put the frame in our hive as-is, the bees would most likely work to destroy all of the new bees and likely the queen since they wouldn't recognize them. The time it takes them to shred & remove the newspaper is *hopefully* enough for them get used to the idea of the new girls and queen...

I told Mr. Bee he might as well let them read the comics.

Below is a photo of the empty display case and the new box - and new bees - on top of the hive.  There were bees EVERYWHERE when Mr. Bee performed this task.  The newspaper has been trimmed here, but it's there!

Amazingly, we went to check the hive after a week and found NO remaining newspaper!  We couldn't find new eggs, but we did see that some bees - and hopefully a queen - had emerged from the new frame we'd put in.  We're hoping that this hive can pull through and we're sort of trusting that the bees know what they're doing.  After all, they've been doing this forever.

Baby Bee's Single Tooth - Watching Dad "Work the Bees"

We did bring the kiddos with us - and the bee display case - out to take care of everything. I told little Miss Bee that the bees needed a hive and we were going to see if they wanted to live in one of ours. As always, she quietly listened to what I had to say and didn't respond much - she was thinking.

What made all of our efforts in very worth it was when we opened the van and put the display case on the ground for Little Miss Bee to examine.

She softly said, "Hello, Bees. My name is Rhema."

So far, this was one of my favorite moments in beekeeping.

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