May 09, 2011

A Queen Cage

Probably the most popular way for beekeepers to stock their hives is with package bees. You go from 0 to 11,000 in about 30 seconds. But the 11,000 bees really are of little importance. It's the precious Queen Cage hidden within that matters.

This is the queen cage that was in our package. It looks nothing like the ones you see on the Internet or in beekeeping books. Fat lot of good all that reading did us when we pulled this out of our package.
This is a simple Queen Cage, with no candy and just one cork.
With no attendants in her way, our Queen flew out in the blink of an eye. One second she was there. And then she wasn't. Luckily she flew into the hive and the bees were OK with that. At first. But that's ancient history. A kajillion lessons ago. I wish someone would have told us:

How to Prepare for the Unexpected
  • There is no candy hidden behind the cork.
  • The cork will be jammed in and nearly impossible to get at.
  • You'll catch the cork just-so when you least expect it and it'll fly out.
  • Cover the hole with your finger at that exact moment or the Queen will fly out, too.
I hope this helps start of a great beekeeping year for you. We're still hoping for a swarm. The Denver Swarm Map shows that the local bees are doing well, so we just may be in luck. Stay tuned...


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