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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Requeening, Reprise

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Requeening, Reprise

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give bees a chance
As I posted yesterday, we lost our second queen for this year's bee colony. While investigating some leads today as far as how to raise/restore the queen, Bobby found a local beekeeper that 1) sells queens and 2) sells them over-the-counter. This is huge and awesome.

In the eastern U.S., most bees for sale, including queens, are raised in the South, usually in Georgia. That's about a day's drive south of where we are. So local beekeepers will often drive to Georgia and bring back a flatbed of bee packages, queens, and so on to sell to northern beekeepers. Or you can mail-order bees from the South but, as one would expect when shipping live animals, especially live animals that sting, through the mail, this is expensive. This means that queens can be ridiculously expensive--around $80 for one freaking bee--unless you luck out and find a beekeeper who has brought back extras. That's how we got our second queen, the one who just died.

Well, Bobby found a beekeeper who is actually raising bees and queens here in Maryland. This is big for two reasons. For one, it is much less expensive to drive a half-hour and buy a queen at some guy's farmstand like you'd buy a box of tomatoes than to go through the rigmarole of shipping a queen from 10+ hours away. Also, it means that we now have bees being bred who have come from colonies that have successfully overwintered, which is a big deal since overwintering colonies is one of the biggest challenges Maryland beekeepers seem to face. Especially after winters like the one we just had.

Because our school director is awesome (and is fascinated by our bees), then she let Bobby go out after his classes were done for the day to pick up the queen, and she let us leave at student dismissal to install her. We put her in about an hour ago. Hopefully, she takes this time. The beekeeper Bobby bought her from seems to think that the couple of hot days we had last week might have done in Queen 2. It was a bad week for introducing a queen, he said. This week is supposed to be cooler, so hopefully we'll have better luck. This group of attendant bees had already started eating their way through the candy plug; I watched them do it on the drive home.

So here is a picture complete with labels (because this is a bad enough picture if you know what you're looking at!) of Queen 3, who will hopefully reign for years to come.

 photo queen-cage_zps68a784bc.jpg

The amazing thing to me is that in that big bee butt are enough eggs to produce millions of honeybees over the next few years.

All hail Queen 3!



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/338898.html
  • Good luck with that!
  • Very cool! I hope this queen flourishes.
    • Thank you! Me too. I've had my bee gear on more in the past month than I think I did all of last year! :D
  • Best of luck to the bee queen! And this also answered the questions I had, particularly why you needed new queens and not just got them from the next beekeeper, als the German beekeepers I know do it. So, also the best of luck to a future wintering!
    • Thank you! :)

      not just got them from the next beekeeper

      I'm hoping this is the start of an era where local bees and queens are easier to find. Beekeeping is becoming really popular in this area, so I'm sure people will be willing to meet this need. (Heck, I would if I wasn't still a clueless beginner! :D)
      • I keep my fingers crossed for you! I thought about keeping bees for a while, but after following my friend's adventures since two years now I decided against it - I /we wouldn't manage. And we are already having several varieties of wild bees and two bumblebees in the garden, so we're rather cultivating them and their dietary needs, which is much simpler but also important, of course.
        • Wild bees are awesome! It's great that you're providing a habitat and food for them. :)

          This is our fourth year with bees. It's been challenging; our first colony was actually our easiest (and even overwintered once successfully!). Last year's colony absconded, and this year has been adventures with queening (however, this year's bees are bringing in a ton of pollen and nectar, so if we get it queened, we should have a good run).

          I love messing with the bees, but come the blazing hot 35+-degree days in July and August, putting on a bee suit and dealing with angry bees is not something I usually feel like doing! :D They are another animal to take care of and not always a cheap one either ... :^/
  • Long live the Queen!
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