May 1, 2010
I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the new hive. My husband and I went into the hive today to give them two frames of capped brood (eggs) from another hive. They were clearly agitated. When you’re in the hive and the bees are defensive, the pitch of the hum that you hear goes up. They will also fly at your face. Not that big of a deal if you’re veiled. In the last 24 hours, this colony has swarmed, been captured and re-hived. I don’t blame them for being defensive when we went back into their hive yet another time today. I know that I’m anthropomorpizing my bees- but they’ve got to be saying “Enough already!”.
In the back of our minds, though, we both have a nagging doubt about whether the queen is there or not. My husband captured them in the dark, and it’s possible that he didn’t get the queen, or that she got killed with the bee brush as he brushed them off the tree bark. When you have a functioning queen, your hive is said to be “queen-right”. One of the first things that a veteran beekeeper will ask you if you complain that your bees have gotten defensive is if your hive is queen-right. When the hive is not queen-right, the bees are more agitated and defensive than normal. Whether this colony was defensive today because we’ve messed with them a lot, or because they’re not queen-right remains to be seen. We’ll know in a week or two.
So, for now, I’ll keep the feeder full and leave them alone. We’ll go back into the hive in a week to ten days. If there’s worker brood, that means that we have a functioning queen. I’ll keep you posted.