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  • Writer's pictureLinda

Making royal preparations in the hive

2024 Cliffe Castle Bee Blog #8

On 12 May, Mike and I went back to check for any new queen cells raised by the bees since 6 May in the (now queen-less), Observation Hive. We found 8 in total, but not all were suitable to keep.

We chose the best, open, cell so that we could be sure it contained a larva with lots of Royal Jelly for food. We removed all the others. Now it is time for the bees to continue to feed and tend this royal baby until the cell is sealed. Inside the cell she will then spin a cocoon in which she changes into an adult queen. The cell can be seen on the outer middle frame of the hive, on the side nearest the end wall of the corridor.

As beekeepers we now need to be patient, leaving the bees undisturbed until the new queen has emerged and has had time to complete her mating-flight(s).

When this is done, she will be ready to start laying eggs to keep the colony alive. We will make our next visit in 3 or 4 weeks (depending on what the weather has been doing) to check for eggs and try to find our new queen.

This is always an anxious time for the beekeeper, as so many things could go wrong. If things go well and a healthy new queen is found in residence, a joyous result!

Meanwhile our original red queen, Ruby Wax, is alive and well at the association apiary. She is still in the six framed nucleus box used to take her and accompanying bees back to the site, but we will re-house them in a hive very soon.


An open, charged queen cell


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