Jul 22, 2012

Lazy Queen

I went to check on my hive today and was very disappointed with what I saw. There were fewer bees in the colony and there were no eggs on a lot of the bars I looked at. I figured something had happened to my queen and they didn't have any brood to make a new queen with. I was happily surprised when I saw some 3-6 day old larvae on a couple combs as I continued my inspection. I did not see any eggs, but I did see queen cells all over the place. There were even a few that had been opened on the side and probably killed by the queen.

Assorted queen cups
If a colony is trying to replace a queen, they will actually keep her away from the queen cell(s) or terminate her for interfering. Colonies prefer not having a large break in egg laying and prefer to have the replacement queen laying before destroying the old queen. Perhaps that's what was waiting for my original queen. An excellent article on the subject can be found here: Supersedure or Swarm Cells.

A queen cell that has been destroyed
Some larvae swimming in a bit of royal jelly

I'm pretty sure this is my original queen (not a replacement) and I think she just ran out of steam. Sometimes that happens with package queens. Being a newbie perhaps I'm wrong about my observations, but I rather just get rid of her now. I have faith that she will be replaced quickly. Since, there were capped queen cells that hadn't been tampered with in the hive.