You see, after we got home with the partial swarm and I voiced (okay, texted) my concern to Dan Williams about half of the swarm up and leaving in a cloud of, er, bees, I was afraid the queen was one of the bazillion that took off. I was also afraid the bees we did have would also take off not long after getting them situated in their new home, rendering our bee busting excursion a bust. He said what we needed to do is put a frame of brood from Young'un's established hive into the new hive because the bees wouldn't leave the babies whether there was a queen or not.
Truth be told, I was skeptical. I mean, why would a bunch of bees that were caught before they could head out with the rest of the swarm, stuck in a box that was duct taped and bungie corded together, drug across town in an un-airconditioned van, and then stuck in another box want to stick around and raise some other bees brood?
Anyway, I must admit, Dan was spot-on. The bees that were there stayed with the brood and took it upon themselves to raise them up. What good bees! Even though they stayed, we still didn't know yet if we had the queen. After a few days of letting the bees settle in we went to take a peek and see. Sadly, neither of us could find the queen. That wasn't unusual for us, though, because although we know the queen is in Young'un's established hive, we can't find her. She's a sneaky ruler.
We decided to wait a few days and then go back in the hive and see if we could find the queen. Again, we couldn't find her, but we did find something else. Queen cells. That's right, queen cells. We had heard about them when we took our beekeeping class, but now we were seeing them up close and personal. Come to find out, because the bees didn't have a queen, they decided to make their own. They also only did that because we took Dan's advice and stuck that frame of brood in there. What that means is the bees began making some queen cells, which are sort of weird longer cells that stick out further from the frame and remind me of a Morel mushroom. Then they selected some of the developing brood and placed them in those cells.
A few weeks from now we're expecting those potential queens to hatch out. I know, you're thinking lucky girls...being fed royal jelly...pampered...you know, a queen's life. Well, let me tell you, it's not going to be all you think once they hatch. That's because there are six queen cells...and only room for one queen. This is where the adage, "The strong will survive," comes into play. Only one queen will reign, while the others will have had a severely shortened lifespan. Sad, but that's the nature of the beast.
So, there you have it, folks. There's not a queen in the hive, but there will be. We're anxiously awaiting the day she hatches out and begins her reign...which I can only imagine is quite a job considering all those bees she has to keep in line. We're really enjoying our beekeeping experience and can't help but dream of the day when we get our first taste of sweet honey from Young'un's hives. Oh, and I've been stung once now. The perils of being the sidekick. Smiling & Waving, Sharon