Saturday, March 31, 2012

Queen marking

Two days ago(29th) I received my Mann lake order. I ordered 20lbs of Bee Pro(Pollen substitute), yellow marking pen(years ending with 2 and 7), white marking pen( 1 and 6), and a bee jacket. I also got a box of entrance disks(For my nucs) from Brushy Mountain. I guess I'll get to my inspection.
We opened up H4, and began searching the frames for the queen. I pulled out a frame of bees and began searching it when Mom spotted the queen on the other side. I quickly turned the frame around and sure enough, there was the queen, running around the frame like her abdomen was on fire. I handed the frame to Mom and began trying to grab the queen. She(the queen) was running as fast as her little six legs could carry her! I reached to grab her by the wings but she zoomed out of the way, leaving a worker in her place. My fingers brushed over the worker bee before I realized my original target was fleeing for her life!
After several more tries, the queen somehow found her way up my hand and began frantically running around, wondering where she was. I was praying she wouldn't fly off my hand and into the wild blue yonder. My hands were shaking as I reached for her; what if I smashed her by accident? At last I managed to grab her by the wings(or I might have only got one wing, not sure, either way she was pretty upset). I put my finger next to her and she grabbed onto it, trying to get enough traction to wrench herself free. I grabbed her legs between my pointer finger and my thumb, then let go of her wings and grabbed my marking pen(white because she's a 2011 queen). Somehow(not sure how, maybe Mom got it) I got the cap off of it and gently dabbed the white paint on her thorax(back). After finishing the work, I held her for a little longer before releasing her, I'm hoping I let the paint dry sufficiently before releasing her. If I didn't, the workers probably cleaned her off as soon as I let her her go(Note: Next time get a cage to put her in until the paint dries). After finishing my adventure with the queen we added a Mega bee patty to the hive and we closed it up.
After finishing up with H4 I moved onto H3.
When we opened up H3 we were greeted by a full hive body of bees! This hive is BOOMING; I think I'm going to split it this spring. Unfortunately I couldn't find the queen on it but I saw eggs so I guess it's okay. We added half a Mega Bee patty(because they had plenty of pollen) and a sheet of candy.
H2 was still kind of weak but it's growing. After searching the frames I found the queen. It wasn't quite as exciting as on H4(Because she wasn't running around) but it was still an experience. After marking and releasing the queen we closed it up and moved onto H1.
H1 was really strong(not quite as strong as H3). We searched the frames, hoping to find the queen but all we found was lots of bees. We added a Mega bee patty and closed it up.
All the hives are bringing in lots of pollen(some of it is from buffalo berries), some orange and some light yellow, almost white.
Overall, queen marking for the first time was terrifying, and awesome! It is really cool to hold your queen in your hand, but is terrifying as you chase her all over the frame, trying to catch her with that little voice in the back of your head saying, "You're gonna smash her!"


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