Well, as of yesterday I am pleased to say that we are now the proud owners of one hive and four colonies of bees. Two are healthy colonies with laying queens and a third one which we are assuming is queenless with five queen cells that we could count, that are ready to emerge very soon. There is a fourth, but that is currently full of laying workers who were slightly less happy about our intrusion than the other colonies were.
A laying colony is usually a colony on its way out, as worker bees are infertile and there is no way of replenishing their numbers without a fertile, laying queen. Usually if you try to introduce an adult queen to a hive in this situation, they will most likely kill her, so that’s not an option in this case. However, we have heard that if we introduce unhatched queen cells, they may take to the new queen when she hatches instead of killing her. Although there is a low chance of this, it may be the only way to save the colony, otherwise the rest of the workers will die off and we’ll be left with an empty hive. As to how we actually go about doing this, we’ll be asking the advice of experienced bee keepers and updating on how this goes!
Today I also went to meet with Denbies to see the site where we’ll be putting the hives. They very kindly drove me up there in the Land Rover, where we then hunted for the right spot where the previous bee hives had been located. We found the site, marked by stone blocks which had been used to raise the hives off the ground and which we will be reusing. After some discussion, we’ve been given the ok to move some of the hives in this weekend! A huge thanks to Denbies for giving us this opportunity, looking forward to settling the bees in already!
Expect an update this weekend after the first 3 hives are in!