Monday, June 7, 2010
The newest colony in the collection, Jane Seymour, was added as a nucleus (nuc) of Carniolans, known for their more gentle nature. The nuc is essentially a small hive box containing five fully developed frames of bees, larvae in varying stages of development and honey. In the image above you can see honeycomb filled with both pollen and drone comb, which protrudes above the normal comb height due to the larger size of the drone (male) bees. Also visible are lots of cells filled with larvae of all sizes which will eventually be capped.
The frames are placed in a normal brood box with five new frames waiting to be drawn out. Theoretically it should take off more rapidly than a newly installed package though ours has been a bit slow to build up the new frames. Oh, and we have not seen this queen yet either...I am sensing a pattern here.
The existing supercedure cell was removed once we confirmed the new queen was released and healthy. If the supercedure cell is carefully removed the developing queen inside can be used in another colony, however due to the way this cell was structured on the foundation I damaged it during removal with a pocket knife.
After two and half hours of driving for a $20 bug, our first colony once again has a laying queen. The new queen was installed just like that of a new package installation. Contained in her cage with several attendant bees, the queen is placed between two frames. After a few days the workers and attendants will chew through the fondant candy that serves as a time release mechanism and allows the colony to become acclimated to their new queen. There was an audible reaction from the colony as it quieted to a calm hum.