Life Finds a Way, or: An Inadvertent Walk-Away Split

SHORT VERSION: I inadvertently created a walk-away split on July 18th when I removed some brood from an established colony to make a nuc. I would have much rathered that the mated queen I gave the bees hadn’t been killed by the bees, but that’s another story to be continued as a video at a future date.

LONG VERSION: The answer to my previous post — Bees Returning with Pollen – A Sign of a Queen? — is yes. I found a big fat brand new queen in a hive that was queenless 18 days ago. Or as Dr. Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park: “Life breaks free. It expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously. But… well, there it is… I’m simply saying that life… finds a way.” You better believe it.

Dead center: a brand new queen. (August 5, 2015.)

Dead center: a brand new naturally mated queen. (Click image to enlarge.) (August 5, 2015.)

If we return briefly to the beginning of this story, 18 days ago on July 18th (A Requeening Gone Bad), we learn that a mated queen was added to a split about 23 days ago and five days later, the mated queen was found dead in her cage along with several open and capped supersedure queen cells. I didn’t touch the hive until today when I noticed a few bees bringing in pollen. Foragers don’t usually collect pollen unless they have a reason to do so, and that reason is usually to feed a queen bee and her brood. So I decided to take a peek inside and low and behold, I found a new queen scooting around one of the frames looking for a place to lay.

First glimpse of the new naturally mated queen. (August 5, 2015.)

First glimpse of the new naturally mated queen. (August 5, 2015.)

And with any luck, I didn’t squish her during today’s inspection. I carefully put her frame back in the hive, but she was moving fast and could have easily gotten away from me. I also shot some video of all this, but I’m saving it for a longer video that encompasses the entire They Killed Their Queens saga.

A second hive body full of drawn comb, plus a feeder. (August 5, 2015.)

A second hive body full of drawn comb, plus a feeder. (August 5, 2015.)

I added another deep full of drawn comb and pollen to the hive, plus a feeder. It will take some tricky work to build this colony up so it’s strong enough to survive the winter. I plan to add some frames of brood from another colony as soon as possible (I didn’t find any fresh eggs today). With any luck, this new naturally mated queen will start laying soon and become a good layer, and we’ll be off to the races.

If anyone has any brood frames they can spare, I could really use a few right about now.

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