The Queen Is Released

The Queen Cage

The Candy End of the Queen Cage

Perfect Queen Release

Checking in today on my new queen from this weekend’s package of bees installation, I found that she and her attendants had been released from the cage into the hive with a little help from her new workers. The candy that had been blocking the hole in the end had been perfectly chewed through. Success in just a matter of a few days!

I was poking around in my new colony, closing up the gap that I had left for the queen cage in the middle, it was obvious that this colony was already hard at word producing new wax combs. The wax was a beautiful golden-white color, in large tear-drop shapes. As much as I love their artistic creations, I had to remove this fancy wax and resume some order within the hive. I think I know exactly the person to give this wax to, a certain metal-worker friend of mine…:)

And since I had the bee suit on, I figured I might as well get it over with and treat my winter survivor hive for their varroa mite problem. When I opened up the hive, they greeted me with an annoyed buzz and immediately began flying in circles around me. Luckily, despite the mites, their population seems to have boomed. They’re going to be ok, but just as well I treat them now to start getting a handle on it. I had not been looking forward to this treatment, mainly because I didn’t know what to expect. To my pleasant surprise, the Apiguard foil was so simple to use. It comes in a little tin that you just peel of the top, place it on top of the bars in the middle of the brood box, put a small spacer over it, close up the screened bottom board, set your clock for two weeks, and voila! Repeat the the treatment one more time for two more weeks.

Apiguard is recommended to be used in temperatures above 59 degrees so that the gel does not crystalize. We’re nearly above that for the next two weeks with highs in the 80’s and lows dipping down into the mid-40’s, but only occasionally, per the weatherman. The bees will walk through the gel and attempt to remove the foreign object from the hive, at the same time getting the gel on them and transporting it throughout the brood and comb within the hive. This first treatment will likely be completely eliminated from the tin within a few days; however, I will leave the tin in place until exactly two weeks and then put a new one in its place for another round. I’m excited to see how this affects the hive. I haven’t seen drones from this colony in a long time. We’ll see if this helps.

A Beautiful Weekend to Install Some Bees

By Andrew Potter

With the dandelions taking over yards, and all the trees in bloom with little white and pink blossoms, spring is finally here in Michigan and the bees know it. Just last weekend walking by a Cherry Snow Fountain tree, I’m pretty sure every beehive within the radius was visiting this tree. Something delicious must be in those flowers!

Along with Michigan’s springtime comes new deliveries of packaged bees. I got my new bees from Keith Lazar yesterday. These bees are Italians from the Gardner’s Apiary in Georgia. Andrew took some photos of the installation process. This was the second time I have installed bees from a package. Luckily, I remembered this time to remove the cork on the queen cage from the “candy end” rather than inadvertently releasing the queen via the other cork end! The queen was a beautiful golden color, and she was caged with three attendants. Her pheromones continued to draw a cluster of bees as I worked on her cork and pinned her cage to one of the middle frames of the hive. I’ll check on her mid-next week to ensure she has been released into the hive successfully.

Everything went smoothly with the installation process, the new bees in their new home – I might add that they should be quite happy since I gave them full frames of capped honey and already-built comb from my deadouts (less work for them to do)! However, it wasn’t until much later in the day, just out in my backyard putting the chickens away, that I got stung in the face by a rogue bee. No warning at all! Now my cheek is swollen up to the size of a tennis ball. I wonder which hive that bee was from – the friendly Italians who were probably a bit testy from their long and stressful journey, or my over-wintered colony that seems to be getting more and more aggressive (another sign of the varroa mites problem). Today I will treat my overwintered colony with Apiguard to start getting these mites under control!

Despite the facial sting, it truly is a beautiful weekend to be spending time outside with bees and BBQing with friends. I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy this weather!