When you're an amateur beekeeper, sometimes your daily schedule gets a bit unplanned.
Last weekend we'd done the bulk of our Spring season work with our hives, and in the process found some soon to be queen bees. Their cells on a formed frame are much larger than other bees, more similar to a small peanut.
So we "beenapped" some worker bees and two frames with queen bee peanut cells and moved them to a new hive we wanted to establish. Once the queen bee hatches, she just has a few days to leave the hive, get mated and return to the hive to get about her queen bee business. She's got eggs to lay to grow the colony, and there's a rule, one queen per colony.
So today we notice extra activity around the new hive. On the side of the hive there's a cluster of bees. And then we notice another cluster on a sapling just behind our row of hives. Our assumption? Multiple queens hatched at the same time, and each has claimed a portion of the bees in the hive as their "court". So on the outside of the hive is most likely one queen and her attendants, the bunch on the sapling another queen. And our suspicion? Perhaps a 3rd new queen has already established inside the new hive and her loyal bees have a "Do Not Enter" sign up for the group on the outside.
So the cluster in the video? We had a half size hive (called a nuc aka nuke) that we could quickly assemble and put on an empty place on our hive stand. A few quick snips with the pruner allowed us to move the bee cluster a few feet and lower them into the top of the nuc, then close the lid and strap the nuc to the stand. We added some sugar solution for them to feed on in the short term, and now we wait and hope they're willing to call it home. If so, we'll eventually move them to a full size box so they can be well established before next winter.
Beekeeping and real estate are a lot alike. You just never know when you'll have to change schedule, just like we need to when a Mason condo is new to the market. We've got about 24 hours to get our buyers in or risk losing a chance at calling it home!
Serving Greater Cincinnati home buyers and sellers,
Bill & Liz aka BLiz