Before leaving for my wee paperback book tour, I had a long list of crap to do. Things like: do laundry, pack, get alfalfa, put out water for the critters, and requeen my hive split. I’ve always been a bee-haver, not a bee-keeper, but this year my colony looked especially strong and so I decided to do something hands-on. I wanted to get another hive, but hadn’t heard about any swarms, so I decided to do what’s called a split. You take some of the brood, eggs, and honey from the main colony and put it into a new empty hive. Some people just allow the bees to make their own queen, but this will take 21 days. So I got a hold of a queen rearing operation up in Vacaville.
The guys said he’d pop an Italian queen in the mail for me. I was so surprised when she arrived in this simple envelop.
Inside, there she was, in a small box with her attendants. There’s a candy cap at the bottom of the box. I put the box into the queenless hive, which had been queenless for about three days. The idea is they would slowly eat the candy off the bottom of the box and release the queen. Before I took off for Boston, I peeked in and saw the queen was still in the box, even after three full days. So I suited up, got a pair of tweezers out, and went into the hive to get her out.
It was pretty anti-climatic: a few bees went into the opening of the little box, came out, rubbed their antennae, and seemed to be talking to each other. Then out the queen walked. She wandered around, checking out the place. None of the other bees seemed to notice her, so I’m worried. Shouldn’t they be psyched? She wasn’t as big as other queens I’ve seen, and she has a blue dot on her thorax. I hope she works out. Then I put the lid back on and went inside to pack.
Now I’m in Boston, here’s where I’ll be for the next few days:
Boston, June 7, 7pm at Porter Square Book
Philadelphia, June 8, Free Library, 7:30
Baltimore, June 9, Enoch Free Library (with Baltimore Green Works) 7pm
Salt Lake City, June 10, SLC Main Public Library 7pm
When I get back, I’ll see if the new queen is laying!