Monday, May 31, 2010

Marking Mary & Hornets

Several attempts have been made to mark Mary this year.  None have worked for one reason or another.  Today, though, was the day.

The In-laws are visiting and my father-in-law wanted to see the bees.  So we suited him up with a veil & gloves borrowed from my awesome beekeeping neighbor.  Then we opened up the hive and showed him the bees.  He got a kick out of it and asked lots of good questions.

 Paint drying

The big thrill was marking Queen Mary.  We hunted for her on every frame and, of course, didn't find her until the last frame.  Frame 7 in  the bottom box.  Once we found her it was a mad dash to get her in the marking tube.  She was moving very fast skittering across the frame. It took several minutes the cage her.  Then marking her went quickly.  Allowed a minute to let the paint dry before placing her back on the frame.

Marked Queen Mary

It's a lot of trouble for a Queen i'm about to replace but this will make finding her that day much easier.  Although I must say that her brood pattern in the upper box looked great.  If i didn't know she's a weak Queen I couldn't have guessed it from there.  Solid frames filled with eggs.  I think moving the hives into a sunnier spot in the yard helped immensely. 


Also, there's a paper hornets nest by the hives.  I was leaning on the swing watching the bees.  I looked up and noticed the nest 3 feet from my head.  I backed off quickly since I wasn't wearing the bee suit.  Later after I had finished working the bees I went and pestered the hornets some.  Yes they are very defensive but to my chagrin they're not as bad as Myrina!  What does that say?  I would not mind letting them continue to build their nest all year.  Then I get to display their BIG nest on my desk at work come Winter.  The Wife does not agree with me though.  And her 'hive' comes first.  So the hornets will be going away very soon.  Oh well...

Hornets Nest by Hives

The hives you see left to right are: Myrina, Mary, the 2010 package.  All on the new stand.  We are still trying to name the new colony.  It has been over 45 days since they were hived so most of the bees should bee daughters of the queen now.  They are slightly more defensive than Mary but that's not saying much.  They're good little workers and are growing quickly.  Right now we have taken to calling her 'The Duchess'.


immwia said...

So now you found Mary, put you put in a better spot, she is doing better and you are still going to toss her out? How does that work? I will she just fly away when a new queen comes in or is it a death match scenario? Maybe she just needed a tan before she felt amorous?

immwia said...

Oh and I agree hornets bad.

Anonymous said...

Greetings Hemlock! So you had a hornets nest too? I just took one down, about a two-fister, from the edge of my building which is about 25 or so feet from my hives. Like you, I was standing in the shade watching the bees when I looked up and there it was -- I was staring at tem, they were staring at me. I got it that night when they least expected an assault from wasp and hornet killer. Oh, and I'm digging the new hive stand you have. Looking good! I went to Dadant recently and Mark Bennett allowed me to make pictures of the warehouse and I'm plannng a blog piece soon. By the way, my new blog address is so some see me. -Mark

Hemlock said...

Haha! She is doing well now but her history says otherwise. Queens get worse not better as time goes by. When it's time to remove this queen i'll remove her and let the new queen keep go about her business.

Hemlock said...

The hornets were a big surprise. I'm afraid to use the spray killer so close to my girls though. I've not removed it yet. I'd like to keep the nest so I tying to figure out how to kill the hornets without damaging it.

Thank you about the stand. Just a few 2x6's on 4x4's. I should have made it 12ft long instead of 8. Then I'd have more room for expansion.

I've been to your new site and it looks good. The post on Dadant will be a good read. I hope you talked him into replacing that darn clock by the counter. It's constantly loud 'Tic...tic...tic' feels like torture!

immwia said...

Okay you will remove Mary but where will so go? Just out into the world to find a new place? What will happen to "bloody queen Mary"?