Package Bees Update: Releasing the Queen
photos by socalurbanfarmer
Two days after the package bees are introduced to the box, the queen is ready to be let out of her cage. These bees were brought in on Saturday, April 21, so I released the queens last Monday evening. I took a chance again and went without my suit, with great success. Few bees seemed to even notice me.
The bees had migrated out of the packages completely and on to the frames containing and directly adjacent to the queen cages. These frames were absolutely covered with bees, and it was a delicate task to separate them and to pull off the queen cage. The cages were sealed with a cork rather than candy, and were easily removed with the tip of a pocketknife. Once her cage was opened, the queen walked right out. I held her up for a few seconds for a photo op, then lowered her to the bottom of the box. She crawled to the back corner of the box, right where she’s supposed to go.
I’ll revisit these ladies in a day or two to refill their feeders, and to replace the front feeders with internal feeders. The internal feeders will enable me to remove the top box and give them less of an area to heat while they get strong.