A little beekeeping accident

August 19, 2009 | By | Comments (3)

My last post told of our attempts at hive building. We deposed the false queen and created a situation where the bees could make a new leader.

And they did. They built a sweet little queen cell for the baby queen. They built it at the bottom of the 6th frame, and attached it to the adjacent frame.


Perfectly positioned to be ripped apart at one week of age by—yes, of course—us. Readers, we hang our heads in shame. When we opened the hive and moved the frames, we accidentally killed the baby queen.

Believe me, we are sorry. We are pounding-our-chest-and-pouring-ashes-on-our-heads sorry. (Ok, not so much. We are getting more pragmatic as we continue learning about bees. These things happen.)

Chalk it up to over-anxious beekeeping. We wanted to know if we had a new queen bee in the Dead-Midge hive. Otherwise, we were going to try to buy a mated queen; we’ve heard a beekeeper in the south bay is selling them.  So we went into the hive when we should have stayed out. (That’s Kimberley and Brianne in the photo at left, peering into the hive with a flashlight.) Even though we were super careful,  it didn’t save the new queen. So much for meddling in the affairs of bees.

It’s possible that they’ve got another queen cell somewhere in there that we didn’t see (or destroy). If there is a baby queen, if she matures, emerges, and survives her mating flight, she’ll start laying eggs about the end of August.

If not, well, we’ll figure that what to do then. Anyone caught a swarm lately?


  1. queen

    If you ain’t makeing mistakes you ain’t learning.Keep up the good work

    August 23, 2009 at 12:37 am
  2. Bree

    And just so everyone knows…. The flashlight method is not very effective.

    ~ Brianne

    August 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm
  3. KathyG

    Oh dear. This is a bit like digging up seeds to see if they are germinating. I do admire you guys for telling us about your boo boos as well as your triumphs. Heartening and reassuring. (If the folks at Sunset screw up, they must indeed be human 🙂

    August 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm

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