Queens Who Are Mated
There is another way we "add" colonies to our yard. We purchase just the queens who have been mated. Of course,
nothing is guaranteed. Sometimes, even the best of queen rearing companies can fail at assuring a queen has been well-mated.
No one is perfect.
However, most of the time, the queens we
purchase do work very well. They are of Russian stock and do seem to help produce worker bees who help the hive resist
the varroa mite problem. We have had excellent results with Olympic Wilderness Apiary which is located in the state
of Washington. Their queens are available Summer and Fall and the customer service is excellent. So far, their
mated queens have far surpassed any we have ever tried from other companies. (No, they are not paying us to say this,
nor are they aware of this endorsement)
The hive still does get some varroa mites,
but, these worker bees seem to clean the hive much better and the queens seem to lay many more workers. The
more the workers in a hive, the better. There are plenty of bees to fight off varroa mites. They help keep the
hive cleaner than most other's we've seen.
But that doesn't mean you can ignore taking care of your hives.
The whole idea behind proper hive management is to assure the hive
is healthy and maintained on a regular basis.
A SHORT BUT SWEET LESSON ON HOW WE DIVIDE HIVES
You take your strongest hives. That is,
there must be at least 6 frames mostly full of eggs, larvae, and covered brood.
Before beginning the "divide", you must prepare boxes for the brood
to be placed. This means that you will prepare brood boxes full of brood comb. Some of this brood comb
will be used to replace the "laid up" brood comb you will be removing from the "mother" hive.
The new brood boxes are nailed onto "bottom boards". The entrance
to each is closed off. We use wire screen, a lot like chicken wire. This keeps the nurse/worker bees inside that
box and keeps them from flying away. Once the "division" is completed, the newly queened hives or brood boxes
must be transported away from the other hives where the brood was taken. At least 5 miles away. Otherwise, the nurse
bees that are tending the brood comb will fly right back to their "mother" hive and leave the new brood box without nurse
bees to keep it warm and fed. The queen and brood in that new box will die.
Once your new boxes are ready, with lids of course, it's time
to divide. Naturally, you will have the queens you purchased ready to go.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO FIND THE "MOTHER HIVE'S"QUEEN FIRST!
This queen will stay in her original hive.
You do not want to place a new queen in a hive that might have the other queen on a frame of brood! DISASTEROUS.
So, find the queen first!!
Once you find her, keep that frame with her on it away from the hive you will be removing brood
from. I use an empty hive box and place that frame in it just long enough for me to work.
Remove at least 3 frames of brood with the nurse bees that are on them and put those frames
into the new hive. Place the new, caged
queen onto a comb full of brood, preferably "escape" hole down, leaving candy intact. It's sometimes best to put
a piece of masking taper over the candy so that the nurse/worker bees cannot release the queen too soon from her little cage/box.
Place the cage in the upper corner of the frame at the back of the box/hive.
I cannot say for sure if the last sentence is extremely important.
The reason I say it here is because it is what I was taught from Ed. (Who, don't forget has been keeping bees for almost
his entire life of 71 years)
Once the frames are placed into their new hive and the queen is placed,
it is very important to nail the lid on and assure the entrance is screened so that the worker/nurse bees do not escape.
The brood comb you removed from the new hive, of course, will
go into the "mother" hive to replace the frames full of brood you took out. It is best to put two laid up or mostly
laid up brood comb together and then spread evenly the new brood comb throughout the hive.
The idea is so that the brood comb is kept warm so that the nurse/worker
bees can incubate the covered larvae and babies which are covered with wax. You don't want to cause the nurse
bees to be spread out too much, in other words.
Now, it's time to transport your new hives to some other yard
Follow the instructions that came with your queens. Sometimes,
it's best to allow the queen to remain in that cage for about 2 days. This is so that the workers can get used to her
We have experienced the workers actually chewing the tape away
from the candy and eating the candy completely away within 1 day of us placing her in!
This is all right. It means that they are used to their
new queen's scent and they need her to continue helping with their existence.
It goes to show that even honey bees have a strong desire to
live and flourish. And, we help them do just that.