Well, it was official, the Queen had flown away. It had been about 10 days and I finally had a replacement Queen, thanks to Tim at Honey Run Apiaries. Tim was kind enough to sell me a overwintered New World Carniolan Queen and bring it to me at the NWOBA meeting on Tuesday.
I was able to install her on Wednesday after work. However, it was raining and not really the best time to install a Queen. However, I was worried about laying workers and installed her anyway.
One thing about a hive that has been queenless for 10 days, they are very upset and pissy. I did not use smoke as I was running out of daylight and it was starting to rain harder. I opened up the top of the hive, pulled the inner cover off and… 20 bees came zooming right up to my veil (yup, I did wear a jacket and veil). I moved things about to get the JZBZ cage installed. As I was working, I could feel a bee on my hair and figured I just had a bit of hair sticking out my hat. As it turns out, I did not have my tie on veil secured very well and one got under and crawled up to my hair. A few seconds later, she had worked her way down to my neck and that is when I realized she was inside the veil. Felt the sting, and heard the buzzing. She then flew up in front of my eyes, which I closed as I didn’t know it was the same bee that had just stung me. Without too much panic… I quickly put things back together, walked quickly away, took off my veil, got into my car, pulled out the stinger, and… two more bees had followed me into the car. I rolled the windows down, on flew out and landed on the windshield getting stuck in the raindrops. I did not see the second bee, and got out of the car to check. Turns out she had her stinger embedded into the driver’s seat just behind left arm. All in all, a fun time.
The bees knew right away I had a queen in my hand. They surrounded the cage and I had to watch that I didn’t squish any bees. They did not seem too aggressive towards the new queen. I will be checking back over the weekend to see if they released her.
A couple of lessons learned:
1. If wearing a tie down veil and it does not feel right, triple check to make sure it is on correctly. I double checked, but things still felt odd. Turns out I had left a nice opening over my collar for the bees to get into my veil.
2. Smoke a queenless hive when you are getting into it. Monday was the first day I could get out and check to see if the queen had come back. Got stung on the hand, but otherwise the bees seemed good. However, no eggs or brood. Wednesday, I had the new queen in hand, opened up the hive, and, pissy bees everywhere.