The Queen’s Arrived!

There’s been trouble in paradise. The bees have packed their bags and flown the hive. We’re not sure why, but apparently we’re not alone, it’s happening all over the north. Swarming, the official term for heading off in a huff, is reasonably common. It’s where a break away group fly away to set up a new hive, but this time our Queen headed off as well. That’s a little more unusual…

Queen BeeWhen Jack and I checked the hive there were still a large number of worker bees left so we did what any good honey lover would do and ordered them a new queen (no republicans in this house!). Yesterday she arrived, complete with entourage. She also comes with a tiara – well a blue dot on her head anyway – and travels in a white carriage.

Since Jack is almost 90, and I’m not as strong as I think I am, we had to enlist the help of GW who rather reluctantly donned many layers of clothes, a veil and gloves so he could provide the muscles. To put the queen in you have to pull the hives apart to get to the lowest layer or brood chamber. An average box with 9 honey frames weighs in at 20 to 30 kgs and is a little awkward to lift.

The worker bees were most perturbed at having their home torn apart but, being sociable insects, give them a few days and they’ll hopefully all be friends and happily beavering away for their new queen. We look forward to more honey.

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13 thoughts on “The Queen’s Arrived!

  1. Hate that when you press a key and somehow an unfinished post publishes!!! Anyway… so lovely, I love the overalls Helene… I bet you feel your Dad’s always with you when they’re on? 🙂

  2. I had no idea you were into the secret life of bees?! How fascinating, and wonderful… I also had no clue on the dire situation we are in with out bees… hmmm pondering what I can do to aid this situation!

    Love watching them… I almost want to touch them as they seem so velvety and beautiful…

  3. I had no idea you were into the secret life of bees?! How fascinating, and wonderful… I also had no clue on the dire situation we are in with out bees… hmmm pondering what I can do to aid this situation!

    Love watching them… I almost want to touch them as they seem so velvety and beautiful…

  4. Cathy, bee populations are in decline and in some areas in crisis. It’s an issue that I don’t believe is being adequately addressed by governments. Without bees many fruit and nut trees, which rely on them for pollination, simply won’t fruit!

    Aussie bees are exported to the USA to bolster their numbers as they have huge issues with hive die-off…

    Unfortunately swarming bees tend to head to the hills and do a wonderful job of pollinating native trees, but aren’t much use to farmers. It’s also harder to monitor diseases and foreign pests with a high number of feral hives so on many levels swarms aren’t desirable.

    From our perspective it weakens the hive while the number of worker bees rebuild…

    But I love the little insects and find them endlessly fascinating 🙂

  5. Helene, I had read that Bee populations worldwide were declining. Doe your old Queen lighting out now mean they are one the increase and trying to establish new hives?

  6. Sandy, I had to have surgery, removal of a non cancerous lesion 70 stitches. Yeas I have been rather sore!

    I am better now though, still a bit sore but my Doctor is pleased. Final appointment i 6 weeks time.Bloody sore for the first week though!

  7. Phillipa, they are endlessly fascinating. I was twelve when Dad came home with our first swarm in a cardboard box. It was a steep learning curve and I was his little offsider. (I still wear the same pair of overalls we bought then – they were rolled and cuffed and still too big, where as now I stretch those press studs to their limits! Just can’t throw them out…)

    I wouldn’t worry about small children and bees. Provided they have a water supply near their hives bees don’t bother humans. The more interaction you have with them the more gentle they seem to become. I still wear gloves, but Jack does it all with bare hands. A couple of times I’ve had to take mine off and the feeling of their wings fluttering against my skin was amazing 🙂

  8. Do you keep bees, Helene? I would love to do that but with kids around I can’t really. I think hives are fascinating as well as the whole honey extraction process. We have had a big slump in our bee population around here over the last five years because of the drought. I guess with no water flowers are harder to find, but after a wet winter and a reasonable summer they’ve come back. I’d hate a world without bees.

  9. She’s what? A centimetre or two and she’s got three huge humans running around after her. Just image how much power she’d have if she were BIG. 🙂

    Hey Cathy, how’s things? Helene said you’d been a bit off par.

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