Sunday, April 3, 2011

Singing Queens And Pure Comb Honey

When we first started keeping honeybees, I would notice, every once in a while, a sweet high pitched singing sound in our hives. It made me happy and I would tell my husband I would get this over whelming feeling that the Queen was alive and well in that particular hive. At the time I thought it was a worker bee singing to her Queen, but just last week while watching a documentary about bees, I discovered that this sound comes from the queen herself. In the documentary it shows a moth mimicking a queen bee so it can go undetected through the hive to drink honey. We found this to be true ourselves while doing a hive inspection this weekend. We had lost a queen and the hive had produced a new queen. There were no eggs in the hive and we had to look for her. My husband gets antsy with me because I don't work as fast as he does ;) He had given me a frame to look over because I can see eggs in the cells where he can't.
As I was looking I heard her! I was so excited I kept asking him if he can hear her and he said "no, give me the frame and look through this other one!" I started to get angry because I wanted to see if I was right, but I reluctantly gave in. A few minutes later he called me by my full name! And said, "you're NOT going to believe this, but here she is!" I was amazed! And so relieved that I had let him have that frame because he never would've believed me! ;) We didn't have time or the extra hand to take a picture and I would have given anything to get it on video! Now that I know for sure it's the queen I will try to get at least the sound on video to post!
I'm trying to get comb honey this year and they are doing pretty good on this frame. The brown on here is bees.

I don't have the heart to kill our queens when they just happen to hatch out before our eyes during inspections so my husband bought me a queen hive. Naturally, during assembly something went awry ;)
Over the weekend during our inspections as usual we had to cull lots of queen cells. I put them in with the burr comb we collect. Monday when I went to my mom's to inspect the hive at her house, I was getting ready, and pulled out my container and couldn't believe what I was seeing. My mom came over and we watched as this little queen hatched.

I'm not happy with my camera because it doesn't seem to let me take focused pictures or I haven't learned how to use it yet. ;) This clump looks funny and not at all like a queen cell, because it was molded in with another q-cell and burr comb. So tell me, after going through all that.......could you just kill her???
After she hatched I put her into a queen catcher and got a drop of honey from my mom to feed her. When I got back home I put her into a queen cage and put a candy end on it.

Can you see her?
I went into one of my little Nuc's and got a frame of eggs, brood and nurse bees and a frame of honey for them. I took them to my new queen box and put the new queen in with them. I'll let them *bee* for a few days then have a check on them. I hope things go well for them. I'll keep you posted.
This is the nuc I got the frames from.
Until next time!
Bee Bizzy! ;0)

Here's a picture of the inside of the Queen Hive. It's in sections to hold two frames each. There are four sections.

I couldn't stand it any longer.....we had a bad storm come through early Tuesday morning and the outside of the box looked a little messy and I got worried. There were no dead bees outside so that was a good sign.
A look inside, all seems well. There's a lot of space between the frames because I had the queen cage between them.
I pulled it out and she is gone! They ate the candy and released her. ;)

Can you see her? She's so Bee-u-ti-ful!!! I am SO thankful they excepted her.
I have found that a brand new hatched out queen will be excepted way quicker than a purchased queen. I'm not saying you should never purchase a Queen, to each his own. But I know that our bees know what's best for them and I would rather let them take care of things instead of me interfering.....too much ;)

Until next time!
Julie ;0)


  1. Hi Julie!

    This is beyond fascinating! I'm in awe. I saw her little head, peeking out what looked to be a corn flake! :)

    Could you explain to me why anyone would want to kill a queen. What is the purpose behind that? Whatever it is, I'm with you. I could never just kill a bee. It's not in me.

    Simply amazing....thanks for sharing this!

    Hope you are well. :)

  2. I loved reading this and that you saved that little Queen. Can't wait to read and see more about your bees. XXXOOO

  3. Kim,
    Honeybees pull out queen cells in order to be prepared for disaster. They never know when they might lose a queen and without one, the hive will die.
    Here in the south from January until sometimes November most healthy hives are pulling queen cells. Inside they put a fertilized egg the queen has layed and they carefully tend to it, feeding it special food called Royal jelly. It's a thick white substance that tastes almost citrusy. Text book theory states that they will hatch in 16 days, but we have seen them hatch 12-14 days. Nectar flow has a lot to do with things.
    Anyway, that is why we go into our hives so often because we don't want them to swarm (they sometimes go where other people don't want them to go). Not everyone likes bees, especially when they're in somewhere they don't need to be.
    We cull the cells so a queen won't hatch. It's not something we like to do, but there's just so many bees in a hive and every time a queen leaves she takes most of them with her. Most times they won't make it. :(

    I'm so glad you dropped by. I need to stop over and visit you, I'll slow down one evening and see what you've been up to. ;)

  4. Thank you Charlotte! You are so sweet.
    Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a note. ;)

  5. What a fun post! I could feel your excitement and it made me smile and excited too. I love that you saved that Queen and she has her own hive now. I bet your mom was tickled to be a part of that discovery too. What fun!

  6. Hey Penny! Mom always pulls up a chair and sits out near the hive while I work them. If there's something going on that she hasn't seen before I take the frame to her to see.