Chop Wood Carry Water Plant Seeds is a blog about Self-Sufficient Homesteading. How can we live by creating a sustainable bio-diverse world, instead of by consuming and destroying the only one we have? What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Tragedy

Our Beekeeping teacher Rolf came to our school today to visit our Top Bar Hive and to take 20 larvae to breed Queens. His Queens failed to return home after the mating flight because of the rainy weather we had for two weeks. So we opened the hive gently handling the fragile naturaly build combs. The bees continue to twist the combs at the ends, bending them away from the entrance. The Queen was on the the first totally build comb which was filled mostly with honey so we decided to take the next comb with most larvae. We placed the chosen comb on the top bar holder and Rolf started picking out the less than 36 hours old larvae and placing them into small plastic containers which are then placed into a box with bees.
During this operation one can see on the photo his hand against the top bars where the queen was in the hive. The bars slid into the hive collapsing two combs and the Queen was found motionless in between the combs. Not many bees died; a few + a few drones. I feel very sad at this moment, even though i know a new Queen will start laying eggs in about 26 days from now.
If Im right the bees will make a few Queen cells by tomorrow since they have enough of new eggs. The new Queen will emerge after 15 days. After she reaches 11 days of age she will perform her mating flight. And when she returns she can start laying eggs. Those eggs will hatch into working bees after approx 2 weeks. So all this takes time and this is the best season for building the colony and harvesting honey.
What a bad luck this was. I should have told him to take care. He works with frames so never needed to develop sensitivity when around the hive.
Next time I will know better.
I did not make the shots of the dead Queen nor of the collapsed combs because i felt sad and totally forgot to do it. What a tragedy :(

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