Monday, July 22, 2013

First Steps

7/16/13  It's a good thing I checked on the bees last night.  Queen Catherine was still in her cage!  Even poking the hole in the candy plug hadn't encouraged the bees to eat enough of it to let her out.  Then I was an idiot and placed the cage with plug-side down, completely forgetting that if/when any of her attendants died, gravity would have them falling and blocking the path out.  Which is EXACTLY what happened.  Only instead of falling, it looks like one of the workers actually died while eating.  So strange!  I pulled the screen off of the cage, and encouraged Queen Catherine to walk out into the hive.  Only she didn't want too, and nobody can MAKE a queen do anything.  So I waited.  And waited.  Finally, I pretty much had to dump her out onto a frame.  Even then, she was slow to walk down into the hive.  This gave us (myself, Mr. HPL, Dick, and Dick's neighbors) time to watch her though. 
Queen Catherine (with the red dot) walks down into the hive
She is definitely not as large as Queen Beatrice (may she rest in peace), and I will continue to worry about how well she was mated until I can see a good brood pattern.  Hive population continues to decline.  Refilled the syrup feeders, but only time will tell if these bees will make it.  This is another instance where a second hive would be helpful; I could shake a couple frames of bees into the weak hive to add workers to take care of brood, or I could just swap a frame of capped brood into it, so the newly hatching bees would take care of the queen and housekeeping.

Have I mentioned I don't have much patience? 

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