Oh, brother, so here we go. Mrs. Know-it-All.
The swarm that I caught Saturday before last at my family reunion was fun. I told everyone "no way could it have come from my hives, I took good care to make sure that they didn't get too big to swarm". Ha!!!! I am embarrassed to even recount this story (just like another time I was embarrassed to tell a story about my bees, but was compelled to). Bear with me, you all know I am long-winded and just can't shut up at times :-P
I hived that swarm, it has been doing well, taking about a gallon of 2:1 sugar syrup a day, the entrance had been reduced because I thought for surely it was being robbed, because it was consuming too much. No difference in consumption, even with the reducer on, too big for any old robbers to get in is my guess.
I thought just for the fun of it I should maybe err on the better side and check through all my colonies to ensure that there are eggs present (just in case the swarm was mine).
I spent two days going through the colonies because of so much farm work and food harvesting.
The second hive that I looked into (this was the babied overwintered Carnioloan that had the terrarium heater) was booming. But not a single egg. Hmmm.....rather strange, lots of capped brood, and I mean lots. Looked all through again, in search of a queen. Saw no queen cells, nothing. Then...as I was looking very hard for a queen. I saw her. I was shocked. It was not the great big queen that had been there on my last visit. This was a tiny, little queen, almost didn't notice her, she was not much bigger than the workers, but I could tell she was the queen because of the slightly longer abdomen and the dark shineyish thorax.
Oh brother, a virgin queen for sure. Not laying yet obviously. The reason why this colony still had so many drones hanging around on the comb. THe weather has been beautiful, perfect for the mating flights and still remains the same today.
The swarm was caught Saturday before last. I would venture this queen emerged on the following Monday or Tuesday, has spent several days hanging around the colony, and maybe ventured out a couple of days ago, say Thursday, Friday or Saturday. I know that the days of emergence from the cell to actual nuptual flights vary greatly, so my guess on mating is really really inexact. Today is Sunday, and I would think that she has probably fecundated and is going to be laying eggs soon. I will check next week to see how she is doing. I would love to hear from our more seasoned forum friends if my calculations on the mating of the queen are reasonably accurate (please?).
So, I stand here, no longer Mrs. Know-it-All. I am humbled by the bees again. THis happens over and over to me with these girls. Guess I am still on the outermost edge of that iceberg that I thought I was getting off of :).
Back to the colony that this swarm emerged from. This is the colony (like I have told so many times), is the one that I never in my wildest dreams would have made it over the winter last winter. It was so tiny, maybe the size of a grapefruit. THis is the colony that got so big that I had to make a cut down split because they had construced queen cells. That cut down split is going crazy now too,
by the way, it has the old Cariolan queen from the overwintered colony (who is only one year old). The mother colony raised that new queen, swarmed with that new queen and has now a new queen. Obviously this is a colony that has a huge need to make lots of babies, but likes to swarm, guess those two ideas go hand in hand.
I am now in a quandry about this original Carniolan colony. Do I requeen next spring to get rid of this swarmy tendency (and very obviously they are), or just become an even better beekeeper who realizes that they are swarmy, love to raise their babies and gather honey all at the same time (I have a deep super of honey in the honey super on this colony that will be capped within a week or so, it is almost there), so I know they love to gather honey too. If I go with the quest to be a better beekeeper, I think I will, because I know they are swarmy, I just need to pay a little more attention to them and check every 10 days for the queen cells. I can do that, I think :)
What a day, just when you think that you know EVERYTHING (now that is a joke), you will always get thrown a curve ball, and have to humble yourself and start at the beginning, just like you didn't know nuthin'. Have a wonderful day, best of our beautiful lives. Cindi
My sweet little virgin queen!!!!!