BLT is dead

This week has been an exciting one for me and the bees.  The new queen arrived in the post from a breeder in Buckinghamshire.  She arrived in a little cage with some fellow worker bees with her so they could look after her (queen bees can't feed or clean themselves).  The cage has a big plug of icing fondant that the bees can eat in transit.  This fondant plug becomes even more important later on... 

To get BLT's hive ready for the new queen I had to make them queenless for 24 hours to get them into 'help! We need a new queen' mode.  So BLT went into the freezer.  I took a photo of her for you - I can't believe that such a nice looking thing could have had so many bad tempered children!  

BLT's old colony weren't in the best of moods when I went in 24 hours later, although they were already building queen cells. I knocked them out so that my new queen has no competition and is the only hope for the colony.  You introduce a new queen slowly, which is where the fondant plug comes in.  The queen is lowered into the hive in her cage, allowing BLT's daughters to smell her.  The workers will eat through the fondant plug, releasing the queen in time - hopefully slowly enough for her pheromones to circulate around the hive and for her to be accepted as the new queen. In the photo you can see the wire holding her age between the frames, covered in bees and a small glimpse of the top of the cage

I'll leave them for a week and then see if it's been a success....

 Queen bee 'BLT', out of the freezer...

Queen bee 'BLT', out of the freezer...

 Introducing the new queen to BLT's old colony

Introducing the new queen to BLT's old colony

Emily AbbottComment