Now that you have installed your bees….

April 11, 2014 Posted by Robert Ardary

Now that you have installed your bees it is time to check to see if the queen has been released. This can be a bit tricky. The bees may have built comb in the void where the queen cage was hung. This comb must be removed to make room for the frame and foundation that was left out for the queen cage. Here is the tricky part. You must look for the queen as you pull out the comb attached to the inner board. If she is on this comb, you need to coax her down into the hive. Care must be given not to injure, crush or damage your queen.  Once this comb has been removed, you will be able to start the Where’s Waldo hunt for your queen.

To search for the queen, start by looking on the outside frames. Place frames on a frame perch to give you more room to search. Check those frames that have comb for eggs, larva, and capped brood. Eggs are a good sign that you have a queen in the hive. No eggs, no queen. You will have to look close as eggs are VERY small. If you had your queen painted and clipped, you will be ahead of the game finding your queen. The green dot stands out amongst the workers. The clipped wings keeps the queen from absconding. If you see the bees flying around near the ground in front of the hive, look for a clump of bees. Your queen may have tried to escape. GENTLY pick her up and place her back in the hive. Once the queen has been found, place the frames back as you found them and place the frame that was left out in place.

Say you didn’t find the queen, or you found your queen has died. Run panicking to nearest queen store. WRONG. This is not an insurmountable problem. If you have one hive, you may have to beg eggs from a fellow beekeeper or order a queen from your supplier.  If you have two hives, find eggs in the other hive. Brush the bees off and place the eggs in the hive that is missing the queen. The bees will take the new eggs an create a queen cell. Keep an eye on this hive. It will take 16 days for the queen to hatch and another two weeks to mate and begin laying eggs.

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