The last four weeks have been quite a learning curve on many fronts.
The most exciting advance is that I have successfully introduced a new queen to the queenless colony. She arrived in the post with five workers in a JZ BZ cage, which I hadn’t seen before. But, no matter…
I read quite a lot about queen introduction which seemed to involve letting the workers out in a dark room with light coming in from a small window and then catching and putting the queen back in the cage if she had been released out as well. This wounded remarkable tricky and I could not for the life of me see how I would get her back in the cage – and alive! My only experience of queen introduction to date was watching G introduce a new queen, but with attendants – so I thought that was probably the best way to go about it.
So that’s what I did. This was a big moment for me. I wedged the cage in between two good frames of brood, leaving the seal over the candy, closed up the hive and left her for a couple of days. Then I removed the seal, put the cage back in the same place and crossed my fingers. The following day I had a very quick look to check that she had managed to get out of the cage – which she had – so I left well alone and didn’t look for another week.
SUCCESS!!! Eggs, larvae and a happy queen. And a happy beekeeper. It was the most exciting thing, I just kept smiling. After another week I had a better look and she is laying well.
I have also been keeping a good eye on the nuc with Liz. She seems much happier in her nuc and seems to be doing quite well. So I now have to decide whether or not to reunite the two colonies. I think I better get a second opinion.
The other bit of learning that has kept me busy was for the ‘Basic Assessment’. It was early evening and all very relaxed, but it was getting quite dark and the apiary I went to was rather shady. It seemed to go OK but it wasn’t at all easy to see any eggs in that light. In fact I had to ask the assessor to see if he could see them as I knew there were probably some on the frame, but it was beyond me! I’m sure its not meant to be like that… but there you go. At least I’ve done it.
Lesson this month: Stay positive.