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A blog following the beekeepers at the University of Washington.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Return of the Queen of Frankenhive

She's baaaaack!
Well, after several days the class popped the lid on the former Frankenhive to have a look at the tamed throng. Surprize! The top box, supposedly with no queen (having been fatally wounded in action) never-the-less had tons of bees all over the pile of old combs, festoons hanging from the lid, and...eggs & young larvae! So, somehow, a queen was once again with the colony. Where did she come from? Could the damaged queen have miraculously recovered? Was there a sneaker queen in the colony that took over? We may never know. Weird. So, the hive had still been a double-queen affair despite the initial attempt to combine.

To try once again to tame the beast, the known queen from the bottom box was removed, all the bees from the top box (including the mystery queen, hopefully) were shaken and brushed off their old combs onto the new foundation below to join the existing small, now queenless colony there, and then all the brood-containing combs were put back in the to box on top of a queen excluder. Three weeks hence, all the brood will have emerged and the old comb can be recycled and replaced with new foundation. This should be the last step in making a single-queen, strong colony. Or so we hope.

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