Today was supposed to be family day but the wife gave me permission to do a quick removal early in the morning. So my dad and I were off, arriving onsite at 8 AM with most of the bees still home. This was actually a bee removal for a beekeeper mentee, going on her second year with three strong hives she adopted from me. They swarmed, she caught two, but somehow one got away and moved into her crawl space. We had to crawl about 25 feet to the other side of the house, and had to do it a few times until we brought all our bee removal equipment over to where the colony is located.
The swarm of bees entered through the crawl space ventailition, walked up and called it home between the floor and insulation. Seven comb sections were built. When I first touched the combs it felt kind of brittle. Probably too dry and well vented below the house, and because the colony is small they didn’t have enough workforce to keep everything tip top shape.
We found the queen on the fourth piece of comb we removed. And easy catch. A nice sized new 2012 queen but there’s something wrong.
Seems like this new queen is either not yet mated or poorly mated. She has been laying all drones! This year’s swarm season has been pretty bad with the rains in between nice days. Probably gave the bees that swarmed around those weeks a poor quality window for mating flights.
The colony was small and I had a queenless hive. So today I combined them using heavy smoke. Hopefully she will do better with a larger workforce and start laying female worker brood.