A few days ago I installed a new frame into the viewing area of the observation hive along with five additional frames of young bees down below. The colony was without a queen. The camera was focused on a natural queen cell that was capped off.
We watched for several days hoping to see her emerge. Today, April 7th, she has apparently emerged as the workers are tearing the cell down. You can watch their progress on the webcam.
I have not been able to find her on the frame in the viewing area, but she may be small enough to fit through the queen excluder and be with the bees down below. The other possibility is that the queen died in her cell, and the workers sensed that, and are now tearing down the cell after removing her remains. It’s too cold today to open up the hive to see if I can find her – plus it would probably be a good idea to let her settle down anyway after just emerging from her cell. If she is trapped up above the queen excluder, I will need to move her down below it so she can take her mating flight and hopefully return to the colony to begin her reign.
A young virgin queen is usually very difficult to find as they are not much bigger than the typical worker bee and they are usually very “runny” – meaning that they move very fast, and often can be found on the side walls of the hive – unlike a laying queen. It is only after their mating flight has occurred and the queen begins to lay eggs, that her abdomen swells up and she becomes slower moving spending most of her time on the comb laying eggs.
Stay tuned as I will report on my progress in looking for the new queen.