June 16, 2009

Beekeeping is Not Easy

This little guy has Deformed Wing Virus. He doesn't have any mites on him, but the virus is vectored (spread) by varroa.

Mother and Daughter. We have a Queenless colony.
The girls threw their mother out the door yesterday morning. BB found her on the ground and put her on the landing board. The girls escorted her back in, but she was out the door again in the evening, this time for good. The colony knew something was wrong and booting her is their solution. While the persistent wet cool weather is not her fault, the continuous undertaking probably triggered a desire to supercede her. On top of the Chilled Brood, quite a few drones with Deformed Wing Virus have been dragged out.

BB said there was a great disturbance in the Force, and the colony spoke up. By the time I got home from downtown, the hive was still a bit frenzied but nothing compared to the morning when she was first kicked out. This morning, just 24 hours later, the bees seemed settled down and almost normal.

We are queenless, but we have queen cells on at least 3 combs. We'll monitor their progress over the next few days, keeping our fingers crossed. If all goes well, we'll have a new Queen in 12-13 days.

ADDENDUM: we have learned that package bees often supercede the queen they were shipped with. She is not their mother, so the colony allows her to lay a couple of brood cycles to build up the population. When they feel they have enough young (i.e.: nurse) bees, they select a fresh egg and start a new queen of their choosing.


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