We’ve been blessed to be very busy with signs, bees, birthdays and school over the last few months, so I need to write to remember all I’ve done.
MAIN HIVE: BEWARE, VERY LONG STORY. I believe the last update I did was that my hive had made it through winter and was building up. I was able to mark my overwintered queen, which really helped in finding her.
That’s about as good as it got for that hive. A few weeks later, the aggression of the hive increased steadily, reminding me of how last year ended (after I had treated them for mites with MAQs). I was stung a handful of times as about a dozen bees attempted to get through my veil and jacket.
I decided that, in order for me to keep the family safe, I needed to request the hive. This means removing the current queen (whose genetics are said to create the aggressive behavior of the bees) and reintroduce a new queen or a queen cell. I decided to take the mad queen and a few frames of bees and put her in a nuc, which would then head up to my brothers who has the land to handle aggressive bees. I then bought an Italian queen on Saturday, April 27th and, with the advice of the guy I bought it from, introduced it later that night in her cage.
The next Thursday I checked the hive to see if the new queen had been accepted or if there were signs of her. It was a bit too dark to see anything and the bees were still a bit aggressive, so I went in to give each of the boys a kiss goodnight.
The next day was my sons birthday and my wife reported there were two bees in his bedroom. 😬 They must have been on my legs as I came in for kisses the night before.
After school that day I wanted to check the hive again to see if I could see any signs of the new queen. We had made reservations for Texas Roadhouse for the birthday, so I needed to go quickly. The bees were very aggressive and I didn’t see any sign of the queen, so I put some of my gear on the back of my car and walked away to get rid of the aggressive bees swarming around my head.
My wife and two of the boys came out to go to TR, but bees were swarming around the equipment on my car. One ended up in one sons mouth and one on the other, but my amazing wife fished out the first bee from his mouth, then swatted away the other one. They ran into the house screaming, and I had to get rid of the bees still on me. Everyone inside was fine and we moved on with our night.
At the end of the night I put my eldest son to bed as I reassured the other son that the bees were outside and weren’t going to get him. As the eldest son turned over in his bed, he started screaming that he had been stung. I began to tell him that he couldn’t have been stung when he moved to reveal a red spot and a need on his bed. 🤦♂️ The first bee sting of the rest of the family happens in his bed!
The next day I went into the back yard just to see how bad the bees had gotten and sure enough, a few came after me even when I was 40 feet away. At that point I couldn’t deny it any longer; they had to go.
I pinched (killed) the mad queen, put the other frames back into the main hive and told my wife I had to move the aggressive hive to my brother’s (don’t worry, I warned him and he has acres between the hives and his family.
I duck taped the hive together and put it in the back of my van. With my jacket and gloves on, I drove them up to my brothers. I exchanged the main hive for one of the two Saskatraz hives I had up there, then brought it back home.
With it seemingly queenless and aggressive, I decided to try buying another queen and introducing her to the hive the next Friday, May 10th. When I got up to my brothers with the queen, I first checked both hives. The main hive still had no sign of a queen. The Saskatraz hive, although the queen was doing well, had a partially made queen cup.
I decided to take the frame with a queen cup out and put it in a nuc with a few frames of aggressive bees, while introducing the new queen to the main hive in a new way. I used a rectangular mesh cage this time, putting the queen and a few bees from the aggressive hive under the cage and pushing it into the honey comb. This locks her in with some help, while also giving them area for food and a space for her to lay. The idea is, if she can lay eggs, she will have a better chance for her to be accepted. This is the current status of the hive, and I need to see how things are going.
THE REST OF THEM: On Monday, April 22nd, I went to get the four packages of Saskatraz bees.
I had made all of my new hives and had them ready. Because I had school, I went to my brothers right after school to put in two of the packages. I marked my queens for the first time, and things went much better than last year.
The next day I put one package in at a student’s house, then the last one at my house. When I was putting on the last package, I noticed my queen was lethargic and something looked wrong with her. A few days later I checked to see if she was out of her cage and, although the hole was unplugged, I couldn’t find her. When I went to get my first Italian queen, I got another Saskatraz queen and put her in that hive. Everything has been great with all four hives ever since.
On May 6th, one of the hives in my yard made this comb on the wrong part of the frame. When I looked at it again, I saw it had multiple eggs in some frames.
Still not sure what that was about. When I went in tonight, I saw a couple of cells on one frame had multiple eggs in it. Not sure what is up. The queen is still in there. This year I was able to give each hive 4 frames of drawn comb, so it has helped them get going.
Well, that’s all for now. The next update will be about my adventures with bringing bees to school!