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A Royal Succession - Our Hives get new Queens! The Buzz on Bees with Bee Butler Michael King (May 2015)

Fairmont Waterfront

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Here we are in the 3rd week of May and the weather has definitely become summer –like in the past 7 days with temperatures spiking into the low-mid 20’s across Metro Vancouver and the pollinator corridor is starting to get very busy with pollinator traffic. There are mason bees, honey bees, bumble bees, Red Admiral and Cabbage white butterflies which have been spotted flying around the hotels herb garden on the 3rd floor in recent days all helping contribute to pollination in their own special way.

The Mason bees are now well into their life cycle with females having laid their eggs in their Mason bee nests. Our nest has seen returning females busy preparing their ‘next generation’ which will emerge next Spring and begin their life cycle all over again in nature’s own recurring and inimitable way which has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years!

The 4 honey bee hives are in different stages of hive health and today upon our hive examination we have a ‘tale of two cities’ so to speak. Two hives appear to be having challenges growing their colonies in most part from what we observe, due to the Queens who in both these hives appear less than worthy of their position as Queens of the colony. The other two hives are a complete contrast with both exhibiting strong egg and larval production and very healthy nectar flows which shows a very strong Queen presence.

The colonies in hives one and two have been given support in the form of sugar syrup which we placed in the brood chambers to help the colony gain strength with a ready to eat energy source and in one colony we have created conditions for a new Queen to be raised by removing the Queen in that hive and introducing a frame of newly laid eggs which will be targeted by the worker bees as a candidate for being the next Queen and it will be a matter of hours before the new eggs will be encased in a queen cell and soaked in royal jelly which will start the transition of this egg into the super cell we call a “Queen cell”. There will be a few cells created of this kind and the first one to emerge in a little over 18 days will ensure her rule as the only Queen in the hive by seeking out the other Queens and ensuring they do not make it out into the real world as her competition by stinging them in their beds before they emerge. We will be checking on this hives progress in another 10 days to look for evidence of the Queen cells to confirm that all is progressing well.

If the new Queen ‘program’ is successful we will have a newly crowned Queen around June 8th or 9th who will fly from the hive and mate with several drones from nearby colonies thereby securing her status as a fertile Queen capable of giving new life to her colony for anywhere from 4 to 7 years, laying eggs destined to become either female or male bees depending on whether they are fertilized by the Queen or not.
Stay tuned for news on our Royal baby due in early June, and you thought the recent arrival of a new Royal Princess in London England was an exciting news event!!

Learn more about our bees and #BeeButler at:
#FairmontBuzz #BeeButler #BuzzonBees


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