Q7 queens were installed in several hives amongst the group. Liz’ nuc that received a Pauw was abandoned after all. Last Sunday, Mel set up another nuc. Mel and I went to the farm to see if any of the reserve queens had emerged. We found one Pauw and one Cleopatra. We put them in cages, added some powered sugar/honey candy and put the cages in Mel’s nuc. Liz came to pick up the Cleopatra queen but found her dead in the cage. Mel released Pauw on Tuesday, she looked great.
Today, August 16, 2015, I went into the 3 nucs that I have at Mel’s to mark my Pauws. They are feisty. I almost messed up. I rapidly found Pauw1 and enclosed her in the new marking gadget (http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-supplies/product/HD-101.html) but while I bend down to pick up the marker, I must have opened the trap, because she was gone! I searched through the hive 2 times, not finding her. She was pretty large and orange. As I could not find her in the hive, even after a few minutes, I started looking on the ground. And then I spotted her on the frame that I have removed from the hive to make space. Pf…………..(insert emodicon here). She must still be able to fly at this age. Recaptured her and marked her blue.
On to the next hive. Looked at all the frames twice, could not find a queen. The bees were quite and happy looking though, so I am hopeful. Same for the third. No sighting. On to Mel’s hive. Also happy bees, brood, but no queen. Also no queen cell, so I am sure there is a Pauw in there too. Or she was out mating. I decided to have one more go at the hive near the current bushes and indeed found another big orange Pauw. Also make blue. It is a bit strange, but I remember that the last time I looked at the just emerged queens, they were banded. Dark band behind the head, lighter further down. This coloring must change over time as the queens grow and mature. So that was 2 our of 4.
At Todd’s place the situation was not cheerful: while he had set up a beautiful nuc with 2 frames of brood, the box had been abandoned. An equivalent of a full side of a medium with capped brood was cold and dead. There was still honey in the combs, which makes it such a mystery. Robbing would have been my first idea, with a small population becoming overwhelmed with fighting intruders. But why would they not take the honey? Todd was disappointed and thinks that maybe there were mostly foragers when he set it up, causing those bees to fly back.
It is too late for another round, but of all the beekeeping tasks, I like queen rearing the best.
Of the Cleopatras in my yard, the Q4, a direct daughter of Mel’s Cleo, is doing splendid. Better dan a grand-daughter from Q4 that I also have. Another grand daughter from Q6 is doing ok. I think that the spendid features of Cleo are diluting out in successive generations. It makes me wonder how that works for breeders. I hope we can judge Pauw and the Pauw daughters along a similar line. I am reading up on breeding but there is not a lot of literature.