That day when you receive two queens in the mail

Top left: An ordinary envelope arrived by ordinary mail, containing two queens in yellow boxes.
Top right: There’s a queen lurking in there somewhere (plus some worker bees who fed her while in transit).
Bottom left: Thomas removes the small plug that will expose the candy at the bottom of the box – if the colony accepts the new queen, they will eat their way through the candy and release her.
Bottom right: The box is now hanging between two frames, on a small wooden skewer. The bees seemed keen enough!

15 Juy 2016

There’s a first for everything: today we received two fertilized Buckfast queens … in the mail! We thought they would arrive by some kind of special delivery service so when I went to check our mailbox and spotted an ordinary envelope with a few holes in it I was a bit surprised to say the least. The queens were in plastic boxes but even so! We’ve had these on order since early April – when we were in a panic after hearing the winter losses were so high that there weren’t any bees for sale. So it had been a long wait, but they came perfectly timed: we had two queenless colonies. The queen in our new A-hive had somehow gone missing in action and a split we made from the C-hive had also not managed to draw up their own, even though we had given them plenty of queen cells from the main colonies. We did a quick check to see if there was no new brood in the hives (a mistake we made last year when we put a new queen in our troubled hive) – we couldn’t see any sign.

We inserted both queens and hope they will be accepted. The worker bees in both hives were pretty excited by the new arrivals. Now it’s up to them to release the queens; we will check back in a couple of days.

17 July 2016

When we checked the hives today, both had released the queen from the box. Here’s hoping they settle in and start producing new brood.

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