Then, a surprise. We did a hive check on July 3rd, and low and behold, we had bees! Yes, there were quite a few fuzzy drones (left behind by the laying worker, no doubt), but where we'd thought to find an almost zero population, we had bees working both boxes! Our best guess is that our laying worker died, along with some of the original bees, and we collected some foragers from hives that were burned out in the Black Forest fire. Without a laying worker and a decent population, we could try introducing a new queen. We added some sugar syrup to them, and I went in on an order for a new queen from Z's Bees.
This time I got a Carniolan queen, instead of an Italian. While not being as big honey producers, they're even less aggressive than Italians and suited to cold climates and high elevations. They're smaller, darker, and just as lovely. The new queen (Queen Catherine?) arrived last Tuesday. I picked her up, carried her around in my pocket until I could make it out to the bee yard and install her.
|Keeping Queen Catherine nice and warm|
|Queen Catherine and her attendants|
|Hardly any bees left|