Thursday, May 03, 2012

Today I Was The Stork

A few days ago, I got a call from a local beekeeper (and lighting designer!) who had queen problems. Either her queen bee had run out of stored sperm, or the queen had died and her infertile workers were laying eggs in her place. Either way, the only bees being born in this hive were male drone bees.




If something didn't happen to change this situation -- quickly -- the colony was doomed.



So after work, Robb and I harvested a few frames of brood-comb from our QEII hive.  We found some comb with newly-laid eggs and brushed off all of the "nurse bees." I packed the frames into my mobile swarm-catching box, wrapped that in a neat bundle, and I delivered it all to the beekeeper in Berkeley.

If all goes well, her bees will find developing brood of exactly the right age to raise into a new queen or three.  The beekeeper and her partner will leave the bees to settle in, and will check on their progress in a week and a half.




Delivering babies is a great gig.  I brought a bundle of promise, and returned home with a jar of honey and a bottle of vin d'orange as a trade.  I rather enjoy being the bees' stork.

5 comments:

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Good luck! I hope it works, will you keep us posted? I haven't had to deal with a laying worker hive (yet), but from what I have heard from other beekeepers, they have trouble producing (when the means are provided) or accepting new Queens. We've always been told if we find a drone producing colony to simply shake out the hive, and split from a hive that is functioning normally. Would love to know if simply adding eggs might work as a salvage method.

Stefaneener said...

Next time let me know. I had queen cells. . .

Stefaneener said...

Next time let me know. I currently have queen cells.

ellen kirkendall said...

You've come a long way in your beekeeping adventures!

Karen Anne said...

Now I understand how women got deformed ribs from corsets. The Western equivalent of binding feet.

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