21 days ago we made a nice little 5-frame nuc box, using bees and brood from Aurora, and a big healthy queen cell from Flora. We called the potential new hive Briar Rose. Yesterday we thought we’d better have a look at her, since there were clouds of bees pouring out of the little box.
She was bursting with bees! And when we pulled frames we found four frames filled with eggs and very young larvae. Our split from the larger hives worked! The frame shown below was filled with drone comb, built in the third frame position in the hive, just where they should be building drone comb.
You can see little eggs, exactly where they’re supposed to be (I circled one, so you know what to look for). See how they are standing on end? The queen lays them so that they’re standing straight upright, but as they age, they start to stretch across the bottom of the cell. So these eggs are probably only a couple days old. Cool, isn’t it?
A queen needs 16 days to develop from egg to queen, then after she emerges, she needs a few days to get strong enough to fly out of the hive and head towards the nearest drone congregation area (Yes, those bad boys hang out in a gang, just waiting for the only love-of-their-lives to fly by). So 21 days—from the time she was first fed royal jelly to make her a queen, to the time when she was able to lay eggs—seems about the right amount of time.
We will never know if Briar Rose came from Flora’s queen cell or if the bees created her from an egg from Aurora. And we never did get to see Briar Rose in person, but we did see lots of fresh eggs, all about the same age, which means she’s been laying within the last 3 days. And when we put the frames into a larger 10-frame brood box, the girls fanned like crazy. (See video of our cute little girls fanning below!) We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this means what we think it means: we finally made a successful split!