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A blog following the beekeepers at the University of Washington.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Boom & Bust Behind Glass

Observation hive dynamics take a downturn.

Queen cells first observed
It became obvious that the observation hive cast off a swarm when 3 queen cells were seen on one of the upper frames. The population of the hive, recently bolstered with the addition of brood and bees from another hive, was also suddenly lower. On June 7th, two of the queen cells were open. By then, the bees had diminished to only enough to cover a couple of frames. A queen was seen among them. However, she seemed lethargic and did not command a very impressive retinue. Sometimes pre-mating queens behave differently, so this could have been the situation. Weather would have prevented mating anytime in the past few days. But on closer inspection, her right rear leg appeared paralyzed, which is possibly why she was slow. She may have been injured in fighting with her emerged sister. This is not a good sign. Will she survive? Will she lay? In a week or so we should know. She may need to be replaced.
Life behind glass is always more precarious than in a normal hive. Fortunately, we have the means to stabilize the situation and should have a vibrant colony on display by Summer term!

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