So this is what is looks like when you have 35 packages of bees mailed to you.
Today my dad and I went to the bee yard to make sure my queen had been released from her cage. The bees had eaten the candy plug and freed the queen but unfortunately she was nowhere to be found. I’m sure she is in there getting down to business, but there was no evidence of eggs or larvae yet. I will visit again next Sunday (if I can wait that long!)
As with everything in beekeeping, there are several schools of thought on making sure your queen gets out. Commercial beekeepers just drop the queen in, cage free, and hope for the best. This could be great because it saves a lot of time coming back to check. However, if it goes badly and the bees do not accept her the colony will be queenless.
Others prefer to add the queen in a cage but not interrupt the hive thereafter for 7-10 days. In the future I may be this kind of beekeeper. If the queen is out, disruption may cause the hive to reject and kill her. However, if she doesn’t get out of the candy cage within 7-10 days the workers who came with her will be very old by the time she is laying eggs and the colony will have substantial population collapse.
I choose a third option, or rather had no choice because I was way to excited to come back and check. She was free from the cage when I visited. My friend was able to find her queen but I was not. Beekeeper jealously! Classic. I was hoping to at least see evidence of egg laying activity but she may have just been freed very recently.
Now I am going to give you the gift of this ridiculous photo of myself:
When John saw it he asked if I was drawing a weapon. Bee duel! However, I was in fact just reaching for my hive tool apparently with significant urgency.