We killed the Queen of Hearts on Monday.
We didn’t mean to do it, but we did.
She’d lost her red marking, so we decided if we found her, we’d mark her.
The procedure seemed simple enough, and we had all the right tools courtesy of our Ohio State Beekeepers Diagnostic Kit.
Basically, you catch the queen, gently move her to the end of the tube with the plunger, hold her still while marking her thorax, wait for the ink to dry, and release her back in her hive.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.
In our case, we caught our queen, gently moved her to the end of the tube, held her, marked her, waited a few minutes, pulled out the plunger, and … she was dead.
Did I plunge too hard? Did The Engineer use too much paint? Perhaps it was a bit of both.
Either way, poor Queen of Hearts is gone, leaving only some fuzzy, golden bees as a legacy.
Once again, we called Queen Right Colonies, and lucked out. They had Olivarez Saskatraz queens in stock. And this would be a good place to mention how lucky we are to have a resource like QRC within driving distance. Owned and operated by the St.Clair family, this small shop is a treasure trove of all things bee, including package bees and queens. And anytime we’ve had any question about how to proceed, they are willing to explain exactly what we need to do. (Blue Sky Bee Supply employees have also been quite helpful.)
Anyway, I was able to pick up our queen before I went to work on Wednesday. Since we wouldn’t be able to put her in until that evening, I asked what I should do with her until then.
One of the always helpful St.Clair daughters answered with a question of her own: “You’re going to work?”
St.Clair daughter: “Put her in your purse. She’ll be fine.”
St.Clair daughter: “I’ve taken them to the grocery store. She’ll be fine.”
And that, friends is how our new queen, Saski, and her attendants ended up spending a day tucked away in my purse in a locker at work.
Later that evening, we put her in the hive.
Today, we opened the hive just enough to see the candy in the queen cage had been eaten through.
Now, we wait for at least a week to give her a chance to be fully accepted by our hive. We’ll probably give her ten days, possibly more, to give her the best chance for a future with the rest of our girls.
Also, I don’t think we’ll try marking our own queen again.