Swarm season....

8 days ago I did an artificial swarm.  BLT's colony was showing signs of pushing off and replacing BLT with a new queen (could be good news as BLT's children are really horrible). They'd built out a queen cell and were feeding the egg royal jelly to get her on turbo growth. You can see it in the picture below, that dimply monkey nut looking thing in the top corner. You'd think queen cells like that would be easy to spot but they're not - the flipping bees have good ways of hiding them and covering them up when you're inspecting!  You have a small window in which to act when you see a queen cell because once it's been sealed by the workers they swarm off with BLT, leaving the new virgin queen behind to hatch, get mated and then lay eggs to populate a new colony.  Doing an artificial swarm meant putting BLT and some of the older forager bees in an empty hive so they feel like they've swarmed, but actually it's more of a stay-cation in my back garden :) 

Queen Cell
Emily AbbottComment