On Friday I prepared to go into my nasty hives to locate and KILL the queen. I got all suited up - with 3 layers on top and bottom! I had smoke and an additional spray bottle of sugar syrup - just in case they got really mean and I had to douse them. I even made sure that I wasn't alone. Susan helped me with the spraying and smoking.
Needless to say none of my preparations were needed! When we opened the hives up the bees seemed quite settled - not exactly calm; they were flying about us but not attacking us. Makes a change!
When we looked in the hive we saw plenty of bees, but nothing else. No brood or eggs or queen! Now, if we had removed the queen and left some eggs and larvae I would have hoped to have seen some supersedure cells. But nothing! The same was true of the adjacent hive! Nothing!
What has happened? Should I suspect the work of counter revolutionaries liberating their monarch? Nah! I could easily have killed her last time I was prodding about! But that doesn't explain the lack of brood? Could they have swarmed? But that doesn't explain the lack of brood! Mmmm, I'm confused!
Anyway maybe in the end this isn't all bad news. With the arrival of the new queens I now have two single boxes contining brand new queens! OK, so there is little in the way of brood, but I can live with swapping the bad bees for a couple of well mannered albeit "weak" hives. I added the new queens on Saturday. I taped over the end of the candy on each of the cages and left them for a couple of days. Tonight I went to remove the tape and let the bees release the queen. There didn't appear to be any balling of the cages so I am hopeful both queens will be accepted!
Curious isn't the word to describe this!