Second day at its new location, it was time to release the queen from her cage that has been hung from a frame in the Hayward Overhill Hive. Dad and I arrived in Los Altos, got into our suits and brought over a hive stand, solid bottom (I’m out of screened bottom boards!), and some foundationless frames with glued on guides using paint stir sticks and crafting sticks (large popsicle sticks).
We set the new hive stand in place, level it which is important if you’re going with foundationless frames or the bees will not build straight combs (gravity ya know). Placed the solid bottom board on top of the hive stand and then I just lifted the two mediums brood chambers onto the bottom board. Most of the bees were hanging above so it was an easy transfer.
We were surprised to see so many dead bees on the bee vac bottom board. It was probably due to overcrowding, overheating, and casualties from being sucked down a tube into the bee vac body. Anyways, remember this was a HUGE colony. I would approx. it to be well over 50,000 bees plus! We first removed the top medium to put in additional empty foundationless frames and saw a huge number of bees all linked together. I also see some next wax being build on the side of the hive box as there were only a few frames in there. Put all ten frames in the medium, will let them build them out first and perhaps remove two frames later so it would be 8 frames in each medium.
We set the top medium onto the telescoping lid to access the bottom medium where we have the queen cage. Again we see the huge population of bees in the bottom medium so it made me feel better knowing that the amount of dead bees would have a minimal affect on this colony and it’s rebuilding. Reached down to pull the queen cage up, looked closely and noticed the queen got out but there were workers inside. Remember this is a homemade queen cage I made by drilling some holes into a plastic box. The holes should have been less than 1/4 so I thought the big queen couldn’t get out but obviously she did. Anyways, the hair clip queen catchers you buy, I hear sometimes the queens get out too depending on their size.
Queen got out of her cage but it’s ok. The colony still remains so I think she is still in the hive somewhere. I didn’t even want to look for her but I will later when they have built a few frames with combs, a few weeks later perhaps.
Everything was put back into place and decided we didn’t need an entrance reducer, so we removed that. This colony looks like it will love its new home and new location. I did snap a few pics but couldn’t do it while inspecting and releasing the queen that was already out. Will post them tonight as I don’t have the right memory card reader here at work.