Thursday, 3 June 2010

Mating nucs

As with most of our livestock, the bees are kept on an acre of land in a village 2 miles from our home, however for the next 2 to 3 weeks I have 2 hives in the garden. They are small mating nucs, each containing, for now, an unmated queen and a mugful of bees.

On Sunday on examining the original hives my son noticed two queen cells, as he was about to destroy the first, the queen emerged so he quickly placed her in a matchbox. Rather than destroy the second cell he carefully cut it away from the frame.

The newly emerged queen was placed in a butlers cage along with some fondant, the tab of the cage was left intact. The unhatched cell was placed into a cell cage. Each was then put separately into a small mating nuc box, containing a few frames of undrawn foundation and a slab of fondant to feed the mugful of bees which were also added.

Photo: Small mating box.
Queen cages, left the Butler cage for the newly emerged queen bee, right the cell cage for the unhatched queen cell.
Queen cell, the cell hangs downwards and the queen hatches from the bottom. There is room inside the cage for the queen to hatch and to be fed by the bees without the danger of her being killed by them.

The two hives were then placed in the garage for a couple of days for the bees to settle and to hopefully accept the queen.

On Tuesday evening the hives were moved to the garden and once dark the openings unsealed, so in the morning the bees could fly. They did and they returned..thankfully. The orientation flight as they first leave the hive is great see.Yesterday evening the hives were opened and the queens released from their cages into their hives, with our fingers crossed in the hope they would be accepted and not killed.

This morning both hives are fairly busy and the bees are bringing in pollen, always a good sign. In the next week or so the queen should go on her mating flight and then all being well we should have two young newly mated queens to make up two small nucs.

The swarm bees who were re hived a couple of weeks ago are doing well. Within a couple of days of being re hived the queen had started to lay, she is now being superseeded as the bees have built a single new queen cell in the center of a frame.Common practice for a swarm colony.

The original hive the swarm left from ..not quite sure what is happening in there, it will be checked this weekend.

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