After waiting and pacing around for most of the morning, I watched the mailman's back as he moved off our porch and on with his route on Saturday.
No queenbee in sight.
Two hours later, a breathless postman pounded on the door. Tucked under his jacket was a box from ZiaQueen. He said his boss drove the package out to him. Together, we opened the package to find a beautiful queen and five attendants.
She was shipped in a priority mail box. Yellow queen cage was set next to the blue sponge so that they could get some water. This is brilliant packing. She and her attendants were happy, unstressed and ready to go.
Here's a photo of her shadow. It's hard to see her through the yellow cage. You can see that she's longer than the other bees. Because she's not very old, she is also not very fat. She will fatten up as soon as she gets in the hive and starts laying.
In the second picture you can see her red dot. Queens are marked by their born year - this year is red.
What did I do with her?
Last week, I put a queen excluder between two hive "deeps" this force the nurse bees to rise to care for brood while keeping the queen on the bottom of the hive. I took the top box - with only nurse bees, brood and food - and created a new hive. Once they were situated in a new location, the worker bees will fly back to the original location leaving the nurse bees and baby bees.
Basically, I took the top half of a hive and moved it to a new location. This creates a new hive.
Then I put this queen in the hive. There is a candy plug on the end of the bee cage. The nurse bees will eat their way though the candy plug (my fingers are holding it in the first picture) to release the queen. When I left her, the nurse bees were already feeding the queen.
(Bees are like that. If they see another hungry bee, they will feed and care for it - as long as it's not a threat to their physical location.)
The queen cage keeps the queen safe until the nurse bees get used to her smell. They will readily accept her in about 3 days - the length of time it takes to eat through the sugar plug. I'll check on her on Wednesday to see if she's been adopted.
Today, I fed the original hive with sugar water (5 pounds of sugar to 1 gallon of water) to replace the food I took. I put the syrup into a gallon ziplock bag then lay the bag in the hive. I made a light slit so the bees can get the syrup. I have a bunch of fancy equipment that does this but ziplock works the best. (Go figure.)
I also go stung. What stupid thing was I doing?? I wore my yoga pants instead of my jeans. The first bee sting of the year always has a little fanfare.? Later on, it's like "whatever".
I should get another queen later this week. She'll go in the "little" hive, which has managed to hang in there.
Thanks for your interest and support. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.