So today I needed to requeen a hive. I had put a test frame in on last Saturday and it now had what looked like sealed emergency queen cells… shrug, after 6 days?
Anyway, I decided to look in on my lovely new queen in my nuc that we introduced as a queen cell at Stock on the last day of my queen rearing course 8 days ago
So, I found eggs, but could I find the queen… I looked high and low, one side and the other, back and forth. You would not think it was only on 3 frames!!
I looked, and I looked, expecting to see a yellow queen with a black tail, or at least one that was a bit different to the other bees, longer. Nope, lots of the bees were long compared to others.
So I started to think what else can I look for. Height… she would be taller than the rest, well with uneven comb and bees climbing over each other, that quickly failed.
Leg colour, I had previously noted queens with orangey legs compared to the black legs of workers. I came up trumps! The queen at last! Stripped like the rest, very slightly longer than many of the others, moving quickly through and ignoring the others. Clearly orange slightly more substantial looking legs, especially the hind ones. A quick comparison to the others said that she was alone in these features.
I got hold of her marked her red, clipped one wing (after a lot of running around, I am not good at handling I am afraid) and put her in a cage blanked with a bit of fondant with a tiny hole in. I popped her in her new home and let them get on with it.
– she’s not always going to look that different
– don’t give up
– use other characteristics to look for her than shape / colour
– after keeping a nuc open for a while they will start to forget about the smoking your gave them, and a top up doesn’t always work.