Letting go the hive

September 22, 2009 | By | Comments (5)

We’re letting go of the hive-that-used-to-be-Dramatica. She’s
the hive that enchanted us when she swarmed three times this spring, and delighted us this summer with her fragrant honey. She’s been through three queens, successively known as Betty, Midge, and now, finally, the infant, unborn Dramatica, killed accidentally while still a larvae. (We named her Dramatica because there has always been something
going on with that hive that was out of the ordinary. It was always high drama in the
apiary with those bees.)


The capped queen cell we found two weeks ago had been torn open. The cell was weird; it stood out from the comb face and was filled with honey on the back side. We took it off the comb, and then discovered there somebody in the cell, bathed in royal jelly. Male? Female? We’re not sure, but it’s unlikely it was a baby queen. (Which begs the question: what happens if a drone larvae grows up floating in royal jelly?)

Last week we decided to let the hive go. We took out some of the frames that had capped
drone brood, lest all those cells hatch into mite-loaded drones. We left just empty space.

This week we found that the few worker bees remaining in the hive built free comb in the empty space, and, sure enough, the cells are jammed with multiple eggs, compliments of our over-ambitious laying worker.

The bees seem—am I projecting?—sad, confused, despairing, but still doggedly (or bee-edly) going about their bee business. The bees want to persist, but without a queen they cannot.

Veronica is still going gangbusters; we’ll try again to make a split from her next spring.


  1. vitamine c

    I hate bee killers. Bee is very useful for us. It gives honey and honey is very useful product for us. Don’t kill bees just stay away from them.

    October 12, 2009 at 4:50 am
  2. liz

    such a hard worker that bee…

    the quickest way to kill them is with a block of dry ice and cover the box with a giant bag or sheet.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:41 am
  3. Kimberley

    Hi Tina,

    We decided not to combine them with Veronica because they have more mites and other pests and we don’t want to share them with Veronica. They also have the laying worker(s) and we weren’t sure what she/they would do to Veronica if given the chance.
    We are doing our best to kill the drone brood before they emerge full of mites.
    Our guess is that there are no nurse bees left in the hive to take care of the eggs from the laying worker. Besides, they surely can’t raise five drones in one cell?

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    And yes, Bree, SHAME SHAME on the laying workers!

    September 25, 2009 at 8:26 pm
  4. tina_k

    Why don’t you combine them with the strong hive using the newspaper method? No use in letting them raise all those mite ridden drones.

    September 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm
  5. Bree

    So sad, but what a remarkable piece of comb.

    Shame, shame on the laying worker.

    September 22, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s