Mark’s been busy putting the Big Island queens into hives at various locations since last week. We don’t want them sitting in the queen bank for too long though it’s been working out well for us.
In the above picture, this queen will be in the hive for a few days in her cage with tape around the ends so that the bees could have some time to adjust to her scent and accept her without being able to get to her. If that doesn’t happen, it can be so sad – they kill her! There’s an interesting example of that I want Mark to share soon. It’s intriguing to me. Anyway, part of installing a queen is letting the queen sit in a hive like this and then coming back to release her.
In the picture below, Mark took the cage out in order to remove the tape and to pierce the sugar “wall” in place to keep her safely in the cage. Over the days she’s in there, the bees join her in eating away at the sugar wall but if there’s any left, Mark helps pierce it the rest of the way.
After reinstalling the queen back into the hive (he placed the cage in between two frames and pushed them together to lodge the cage securely), notice how the bees clammer all over her. In a few days, Mark will go back to check on her again to make sure she’s out of the cage and laying eggs properly and that the bees are accepting her okay. It doesn’t always go smoothly since mother nature and the bees are unpredictable so it’s a good idea to check regularly the first couple of weeks.