Thursday, April 25, 2013

The queen is dead! Long live the queen!

Today, I had to do it scared. Not replacing the drone-laying queen was not an option, and finding the her took me a horrible 15 minutes during which I was convinced those bees remembered me from yesterday. I smoked them half to death (and I'm sure I smell great, myself) in an attempt to keep them humming peaceably rather than buzzing at an angry high pitch. Eventually I found the queen and jailed her, installed the new queen inside her cage as I've shown before, and closed up as quickly as calmly possible. 


Then I took the head off the old queen (oh how French Revolution of me) and preserved the rest of her body in alcohol for a day, before disposing of it. I have learned yesterday that one can use her pheromones for other beekeeping purposes, such as to lure a stray swarm of bees. 

Bee wise: The queen's life is amazing and precarious. She hatches, and if she's not immediately killed (because there is a strong, active queen in the hive already), she is fed by the workers and embarks on one of the very few flights of her life. She dates something like 20 gentlemen, ideally. This is good for genetic diversity. If she makes it back without getting eaten by a bird or something, the hive has a new queen and she will start laying eggs. Mostly female baby bees, since the hive needs lots of workers. A few drones (boys), just to keep the species going. They have little function in the hive. Problems arise if she comes back unmated, because then she will only produce male offspring and the hive is doomed without intervention. So that's your bee-ology lesson for the day!

No comments:

Post a Comment