Recent Posts

God save the queen



A few weeks ago I checked the honey bees, hopeful that despite that swarm in early spring, perhaps there may be enough honey stores for us to steal.  Alas, not only was there no extra honey, there was hardly any honey at all.

More than disappointing, this was of great concern.  Having no idea of the cause, I called in the bee doctor.  What he found was not good news.  Seems the new queen is sickly and not keeping up with her royal duties, that is to maintain the brood numbers.  The result? A hive with a reduced work force, leaving it vulnerable to attack.

And under attack it was. The bee doctor pointed out bees trying to access to the beehive through cracks and vents and not the hive entrance, a sign they were strangers and not from around these parts. Those bees were also a different colour. They were robbers attacking the beehive! Wild bees stealing our honey stores!

I'm afraid the remedy is not good for the queen.  She needs to be replaced with a new Her Maj on the throne.  We will also get a second hive, and this colony can share babies to build up the workforce numbers quickly, so as to able to defend the hive from those pesky wild bees.

Being such a novice when it comes to beekeeping, and still a little nervous when poking around the hive myself, it was so fascinating to watch an expert apiarist at work, the things he noticed and how quickly he identified the problem.    I felt a bit guilty not checking up on the hive more regularly.

I feel sad for the bees under attack. And sad for the queen. She did her best, but she's about to be overthrown.  Poor queen bee.

10 comments:

  1. poor queen! How sad that she can be so easily ousted!

    I always thought it would be fun to own bees but I understand they're a lot of work ... plus I'm afraid of them! Hope the new hive works. Good honey ranks high with me...just like good jam. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. How sad for the poor queen!

    Good luck with the new hive. I hope it brings you lots of golden honey!

    Beautiful photos.

    www.twinsplusonemumma.com

    x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Long may the new queen reign!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here's hoping the new queen does a good job! Good luck to her and to you, Michelle! I'd be very nervous around a beehive as well!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My word! That's sad but fascinating as well, Michelle. I look forward to hearing how you go. J x

    ReplyDelete
  6. I used to think bee keeping was simple. more of a set and forget thing. but obviously not.
    Hope you get the queen situation fixed and have golden honey as a reward in not too long.
    x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fascinating!! Who knew??! How do you find a new Queen Bee?? Is that a dumb question? Please keep us up to date, I can live out my apiarist dreams through you. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh poor Queen. Like Lexi, I also don't know how a new Queen Bee is determined. I've been doing a bit of work with some urban beekeepers and I am slowly learning bits and pieces - the whole social structure and behaviours are fascinating!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fascinating post. I look forward to hearing about the incoming queen - hope she doesn't slack off her duties!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Stunning photos. I am recently learning more and more about bees from my boss and I noticed they love the smell of me after I have been sweating it up in the garden.

    ReplyDelete