Saturday, April 21, 2012

queen rescuer

Today I decided, this was the day to take a peak in the hives. I wanted to check if the queens had been released from their cages.

From everything I read or videos I watched, there seems to be some discrepancy as to when to do the first check on a newly installed hive. Some said, three days. While others said, seven days. 
I decided I wasn't going to wait seven days.
 I was debating about checking yesterday, but the weather decided that for me. It rained pretty much all day. At this time of year, I'd rather have the rain instead of snow. I wasn't complaining.

I was worried, anxious, and uncertain when I went to open my hives. I had the smoker ready, but not really sure how to use it. So I really didn't it use it this time. But I know that I will probably have to in the future when the bees have something to defend. I also did use my gloves. To big and bulky. I had bees crawling on my hands. The whole time I just kept talking softly to them, and to myself. Reminding myself just to work slowly. Take your time. Patience. When I was done all three hives, and I walked away sting free. The emotion that swept over my was EXHILARATING!! I really enjoyed the experience. I can't wait to do it again!!!

I worked one hive at a time.
 I basically did the same thing in  in each hive.
I took the outer lid off, and gently removed the inner cover. On the underside of the inner cover there were plenty of bees.

I didn't think to take a photo right away, when I lifted the lids off. This was all that was remaining on the lid after I had done everything else in the hive.
I ever so careful leaned the inner cover up against the outer cover. I next checked the frame feeder. I refilled the feeders. I made the syrup earlier this morning, so it would be cool enough to add to the feeders. I lifted off the pollen patty, and turned it over, so that I wouldn't squish any bees. They chewed through the paper that the patty is sandwich between.
I removed the third frame from the right and than the next two. I made sure that I replaced the frames in the same spot that I took them from. I located the queen cage at the bottom under one of the frames.

This picture I took after I filled the feeder, and checked for the queen. When I first opened this up, there was a whack load of bees on top of the frames.

 In O Bee One and Super Bee, they had released their queens.

But in Leave Me Bee, the queen was still in the cage!

queen cage

When I was installing this hive on Monday, I accidentally pushed that teeny tiny cork inside with the queen. And now, because she has such a huge abdomen, she couldn't negotiate around the cork. I thought she could.
I wasn't worried.
Until today!
I found a tiny stick and ever so carefully moved the cork towards the back of the cage. Queenie moved her body to the other side, and I moved the cork completely out of her way. She started crawling for the opening. As she was doing this, the words that Rodrigo told me quickly flashed through my head. "Be careful that the queen doesn't fly away on you. This has happened to alot of beekeepers". I quickly put her back on the bottom of the hive, and put the frame back over her. I got a glimpse of her as she crawled under the frame next to her.

I didn't do a thorough check. I didn't look for the queen in the other two hives. Nor did I check to see if they had been drawing comb. Next time when I check, I will search the frames for signs of drawing comb, the queen, and eggs. Until I know, off by heart, what I am inspecting for at each visit, I am going to make a check list to put in my bee box.

I am going to have fun trying to find things on the frames. I have noticed as I am getting older, my eyes are changing. My glasses are for distance.  So I need to take them off to do any close up work. Like crochet, sewing, eating, reading, and now checking frames. What makes this even more of a challenge, is looking through a 'screened' veil! 

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  1. It sounds as though you having things well in hand, yay you!

  2. Holy cow. Nice save!

    Our hive has drawn out half the frames in two boxes. Crazy! We can't find the queen, there's so many freakin bees in the thing, but figure that if she wasn't there, they wouldn't still be working away. At least we hope that's the case. :)

  3. Good job and good luck with that last Lady. Only how many months til honey? hehe

  4. Hi Jerry-No honey this year. Hopefully fingers crossed next year.

    Hi Rae-My hubby was calling the rescuer of queens. I was just lucky. You know right place blah blah. I am hoping to be able to check Wednesday/Thursday to see if they have started to draw comb.