A mixed day today, with more dead queens found and some missing in action. Over the last few weeks I’ve lost ten queens, some of last years overwintered queens, and some of this years new queens – this tends to get me down.

The bad, one of last years queens found dead today

I now have several hives queen less, which will hit my honey harvest hard due to the fact that it will take at least a month to get a new queen raised, mated and laying again, and in that time the number of bees in the queen less hives will be declining. My queen rearing will also suffer due to lack of choice of hives to take larvae for grafting from, and the diminishing number of nurse bees to feed and bring on new queens.

The Ugly, 5 dead queens – 2 of last years and 3 of this years

Having said that, I grafted 20 larvae into queen cups today, and placed them into a queen less hive to (hopefully) get them drawn out as queen cells. I’ll be happy if I get half of them accepted at this rate, at least it’ll give me something to work with.

My grafting table set up. I use a portable artist’s easel which works great.
Larvae that have been grafted into cell cups
The good – 20 cups with grafted larvae
The cell bar ready for placing into a queen less hive
Day old eggs in the bottom of the brood cells
Nicely filled frame of young larvae

The hive with the cell bar in will be fed constantly until the queen cells are capped, so that the nurse bees have plenty of food to feed the larvae with.

One thought on “The good, the bad and the ugly

  1. Same situation on this side of the pond. I’ve never lost queens like I have this year. Multiple early losses and for some time it was one or two every time I visited the bee yard. Seems to have stabilized here but our nectar flow has ended which will make requeening more of a challenge. I’ve not worked so hard over the spring season as I have this year, and for a shabby nectar flow as well.

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