The Queen is Dead! Long Live the Queen! How to requeen a hive

After the stressful start my bees got this year, it’s no surprise that things aren’t going terribly smoothly.  From the start, I noticed that the bees weren’t coming and going very much from the hive which had broken open in the car.  I’d open the cover and see that they were definitely alive, but they just weren’t terribly active.  And they weren’t taking very much syrup compared to the more active hive.  When I inspected last week, I saw that which beekeepers dread: a queenless hive.  Now, I’m not terribly experienced at this bee thing so I don’t quickly spot a queen when I pick up a frame.  But what I can see is whether I have eggs and larvae.  And I didn’t have any of that.  So I had to make a decision: buy a queen or try to make a new queen.  I really like my docile bees, so I figured I’d try to get them to requeen on their own.

That sounds like it would be much trickier than it is, but your job as a beekeeper here is really quite simple: take a frame of eggs from another hive and let them turn one (or more) of those eggs into a new queen!  So I did that and then shut the hive for a week to let my girls get to work.

And I was rewarded with this beautiful queen cell!  Sorry for the blurry photo but it’s hard to take a picture while wearing gloves and holding a frame of bees.  Anyway, looking for a queen cell is pretty easy as these things are HUGE relative to regular cells.  Like a giant peanut protruding from the frame.





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