Monday, April 16, 2007
Check for Queen Acceptance
Now that we have installed the package bees it is time to be patient and wait a week before checking on the bees.
After a week it is time to light a smoker and check for queen acceptance. Now whenever we check the bees we will light the smoker.
Puff smoke at the entrance and lift up the telescoping cover. A few puffs of smoke under the cover should calm the bees a bit. Remove the cover and repeat this procedure to remove the inner cover.
The bees should be on the frames centered under the feeder pail.
Starting with the outside frame remove the frame. There is likely to be very few bees on this. Slide the next frame back. Slide more frame back until we get to a frame covered with bees.
Carefully remove the frame. Don't slam it into other frames. Care must be taken when we are working near or in the cluster of bees. We don't want to kill the queen.
Inspect the frame with bees on it. We are looking for eggs. The first frame near the cluster might just have nectar. If no eggs , remove the next frame.
Eggs will be deposited on the back of the cells, they will be looking straight out. When we see eggs look at the laying pattern. A frame with most of the cells with eggs present is what we are looking for. If we don't see eggs look at all the frames. Still no eggs? Put the frames back carefully in the same order they were removed. Close up the hive.
If we saw eggs we know the queen has been accepted. We don't have to see the queen to know she is there. Her egg laying will tell us this. Eggs - we have a queen. No eggs there could be a problem.
If we didn't see eggs on this first visit we will look again after four more days.
No eggs yet means the queen is not present. Re queen the hive. Slow release method .
Tip: When looking for eggs and larvae and the covering bees won't get out of the way. Lightly blow on the bees and they will clear out of the way.