Every Hive Needs a Queen

When I inspected my hives last month, one had a missing queen. How did I know? No eggs! If their are no eggs, soon you won’t have a hive. Worker bees (immature females) live less than 40 days. I had to act quickly.

I ordered a queen from the bee store near 107 and Pflumm on Monday, June 3rd. She arrived on Thursday, June 6th in a small crate, 1 x 3 inches (pictured above.) She also came with four attendants who constantly fed and stroked her.

She sported a green dot painted on her by the seller. Green is the color code for 2024. Each year has a different color. That way she’s easy to spot in the hive and the beekeeper knows how old she is. Unlike her immature sisters, she usually lives three years.

On Saturday, June 8, I placed her and her attendants in the hive in her little box. One end was filled with solid sugar. If I’d placed her there without the box, the resident bees would have killed her because she  smelled different to them. By the time they have chewed the sugar away, they are familiar with her scent.

Before I had even placed her in the hive, two drones (male bees) lit on her cage with great interest. As soon as she emerged, she would take flight to mate with several males and then return to the hive after a week and begin her life purpose of laying up to 2,000 eggs a day. She only had fourteen days from birth to complete this mating flight. 

On June 12, I checked the hive. Her shipping crate was empty so she was probably on her mating flight. I checked for eggs in the hive on June 22 and found evidence she had returned. Hallelujah! I hope she has a long, good life!


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