What a day this has been! I started out early this morning because I had so much to do. First of all, I wanted to catch the queen from my hive and take her with me to Busy Bee Apiaries in Carrboro. As you know from my previous posts, she's been a little fickle lately in laying eggs...and she stumped quite a few people who really know bees well including the state aviary inspector -- and Betsy, one of the bee experts at Busy Bee. So the plan was to catch her and take her back, but if I couldn't find her before I left, I would still get a new queen from Busy Bee and then give my present queen the big pinch. If anything, I wanted to save her so Betsy could hive her and watch her behavior. Honestly I just didn't feel right about pinching her...so my task was to find her before I made the hour trip to the east.
I went into the hive with the optimistic attitude that I would easily find her this morning. After all, the last two trips in the hive I found her, and I figured today would be just as easy. What a joke! I get into the hive and started with the frames in the top chamber -- she was nowhere to be found. I get down into the bottom chamber -- she's nowhere to be found there either. So her majesty was hiding from me this time...of all times that I wanted to find her (and save her from the horrors of the hive tool)..but she was in hiding. Talk about becoming frustrated. I think I said a few curse words in my head.
But them the most amazing thing happened. While I was in the bottom chamber, I shook bees from some of the center frames to see what they were doing in the cells -- and there they were! White, glistening, and healthy looking larvae! Not one larvae just here and there...but they were everywhere. The honey at the top of the frame was cresent shaped, but all of the cells under that had larvae! Then I found another frame in the top chamber with larvae too -- the pattern wasn't as tight, but they were alive and growing.
I ran for the house to call Betsy at Busy Bee. After all, she was out in the bee yard and catching my new queen and I didn't want her to go to the trouble of getting one since I had good news. Well, I was too late, she had already caught a queen for me. But being the super nice person she is, Betsy laughed and told me that she was glad things are working out on my end and that maybe my queen just went on a holiday. I apologized for putting her to the trouble of catching another queen and she said it wasn't a problem, she would find her a good home. I really like Betsy and everyone at Busy Bee. They're truly a class act in the beekeeping business. Honestly, if you need a queen or supplies -- they're the ones to call. You can find the link to them on the right side of my blog...and please tell them that Mark highly recommends them!
So that's the story. The eviction order has been lifted...and her majesty gets to stay. I have no clue why she stopped laying, and have no clue why now, all of a sudden, she's back to normal. I blame some of it on my eyes...I've had to start wearing reading glasses in the last year. But even the aviary inspector didn't find eggs or larvae either -- so who the heck knows what was going on with her? I find it hard to believe she can fool more than one person.
My neighbor watched me work the hive this morning and she offered this explanation as to the on-and-off laying queen: "Mark...she's a woman! What do you expect?" -- and she laughed. She's a woman...and a really great neighbor...so she can get away with saying that.
So here we go again. It looks like things are back to normal. I added a gallon of sugar syrup and closed up shop for another week. We'll see what she does now. Hopefully she is going to keep chugging along and doing what she does best. And if she doesn't, I'm calling in a bee psychologist! Does Dr. Phil make house calls?