Monday, May 28, 2012
Six Week Surprise
The bees in the Flower Lang decided to build a queen cell. Experienced beekeepers told me that it's normal to see these built and torn down. We did see the queen that day, but not very many eggs. Also there was syrup in the brood comb - not a good sign. We saw huge celled comb at the perimeter of the hive - likely where they will make more queen cups.
We might be seeing preparations for supercedure.
If the bees don't like the queen, they'll raise another one. Actually they'll raise a bunch. One is raised in the center of the hive and others will be raised on the outer edges of the hive. The extras are for insurance. Say the first new queen goes out to mate but doesn't come back. They'll have another queen there just in case.
Why do bees supercede? They know the queen. If there's a problem with her, they'll know and they'll take steps to replace her. Could be she's sick or damaged or misfiring. The bees'll know.
If this queen cup is much longer when we inspect next and if we find others, we'll know they're serious. If we see few or no eggs, we'll know why they're serious. Even if the queen is still there, we'll know they're going to supercede and we'll just stay out of the way while they do it.
If the cups are gone, we'd expect to see a lot of eggs and business as usual. If the cups are gone but there are few eggs, I'll consult the experts.
Should be interesting.