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Sunday, 24 May 2009

Catching queens

This is just three of the six queens that we took from one colony yesterday, during the training session for novice beekeepers at the club. The middle one is in a proper queen cage. It has a plug of candy (sugar) in the entrance so that when the cage is put into a queenless colony, the queen will have sufficient "face time" (aaargh) for the colony to become accustomed to her scent and accept her.

These queens will be used to re-queen queenless colonies (perhaps mine if my virgin queens have not done the business and returned).

The other two are, yes, hair rollers. They provide the perfect mix of shape, ventilation, easy of use, colour coding. They are mounted in small wooden blocks that can be easily stored in a box.

Instructor Alan removes a queen from the queen cell. Steady hands are needed. Fifty-five years of beekeeping helps, as well. Note hair roller cage at the ready.

This cell is a bit tough. The drone uncapping fork is used to good effect, even though it wasn't designed for this job.

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