Sunday, June 27, 2010

Requeening Begins

The time has come to requeen both Mary & Myrina.  Mary has been weak since last Summer.  I didn't requeen her then because I didn't know about that kind of stuff.  By the time I figured it out it was November and to late in the year.  Myrina was strong, productive, but old.  This is a good time to do her as well.  However, last inspection I could not find queen Myrina & the bees weren't acting queen-right.  Both Mary, since last year, & Myrina, from the last inspection, have had spotty brood & chalkbrood. 

I had meant to requeen in April but the local queen supplier didn't have any ready just then.  After which a bear shredded his apiary.  I've been waiting on his next batch to requeen.  When Myrina went south I decided to do it now.  Unfortunately I could not locate any queens.  So I had to wait some more.  Then last week the email went out that another beek had available queens.  I made the call & will pick up 2 VSH Italian queens Tuesday morning.

Which means i need to pinch any queens in the targeted hives.  Both have marked queens and Myrina should be queenless.  Or so I thought.  First into Myrina.  I wanted to make sure she was without a queen.  Suiting up in 98 degrees and inspecting 20 deep frames is no picnic but it must be done.

I had a Medium honey super on Myrina but they hadn't touched it.  So off it came.  Her population was down too and I noticed the Chalkbrood had vanished.  The amount of frames with brood had increase as well.  And many 'Eggs'.  Uh oh. Continuing the search found the capped brood to still be spotty but lots of eggs & larva.  The residing queen was eventually found on the second to last frame in the bottom box.  UNMARKED!

So apparently they had replaced or superseded the last marked queen.  Enough time has gone by.  I never did find any queen cells though.  I did watch the new queen for a bit.  she was scrambling around the frame randomly dropping eggs out her hind end.  Not putting them into cells at all.  Are they supposed to do that?  Well enough for me.  Myrina has always been very defensive.  Even if she's been trouble free I'm tired of putting on armor every time I want to look at her.  This daughter of her's would likely bee a good queen but still as mean as her mother.  So I removed her from the hive.

Mary was much easier on me.  She was on frame #2 in the top box.  She was easy to spot with that big blue paint dot on her back.  She was pulled from her hive as well.  Though I saw no signs of chalkbrood in Mary either.  Which is strange since she's always shown some sign of it over the last 2 years. 

So 2 queens out of their hives and into the freezer.  The freezer because I had no heart to mash them.  The bees will realize they're queenless tomorrow.  Tuesday I will place a new queen in each hive.  If all goes well the break in brood will only be a week.  Which Myrina has already done when she made the last queen.  Each will be back up to par before August, so should be set for Winter as far as population goes.  I'll update as the requeening progresses.

Also, Myrina's Bottom Board was replaced with a Screened Bottom Board.  That should help with keeping the hive cool.  The temps this year have been way up in the 90's each day.  3 old crimped wire frames in box 1 & 3 plasticell frames from box 2 were replaced with undrawn crimped wire frames.  The old frame because the bees had stopped using them; they were completely empty.  The Plasticell frames because the bees were also ignoring them; never drawn out.  The crimped wire wax foundations should entice the bees back to using the frames.


1 comment:

immwia said...

I was happy to hear about the freezer. I don't know if it was a quick but hopefully pain free. They were good queens for a time for you. I wonder in time if you will always remember your first since you learned so much from them.