We waited about a week from when we collected the bees before we opened the hive to see if there was a queen. From the title of this post, I think you can see where we’re going, but our hope had been that somehow there was a second queen in the swarm. It was a far-fetched hope, but a hope all the same. We opened the hive to discover approximately one frame of bees, who had not done much of anything over the past week. No comb being drawn, no sign of any activity, and definitely, no sign of a queen. As I saw it, the issue was that we needed a queen, and we needed one soon. I had a jar of honey in the cupboard that I’d purchased from Max’s Honey House (excellent honey, BTW), which had a phone number on it that we called. We reached a man who is a commercial beekeeper and dissuaded us from trying to re-queen this colony of bees as it was too small and too late in the season to have a viable colony come winter. He recommended that I acquire a nucleus hive, which for those new to beekeeping is about five drawn frames filled with a queen, some drones, and some workers ready to be placed into a new hive body. That is still my next plan, if this colony fails.

In the lovetime, here were some queenless bees who would slowly die out over their natural lifespans and that seemed a little sad. I had collected them in the hopes of saving them. Sure, honey would be nice eventually, but I was and am more interested in the process and understanding of beelife. So after much deliberation, we decided we would attempt to re-queen them and see what happens in our grand experiment. We placed a feeder of sugar syrup on the hive and called it a night.

Mmm, mmm good!