Susan…. ah, Susan. She started out with so much promise, and yet has not exactly clicked for whatever reasons.
So. After our success with Mary, we proceeded to Susan with the same general plan.
Removing some of the frames in the top hive body revealed larvae… really BIG larvae, that were obviously potential queens. Since we disrupted the hive, we exposed them in ways that make it unlikely that they would progress to being functional queens, so we scraped them out. This is rather cruel, and I kinda feel badly about it- but at this point Susan had hatched maybe 4-8 drones, and a virgin queen needs to mate with something like 20- and those preferably not from her own hive. So I think killing these queen larvae and making the current queen- which J saw- lay some more eggs and so slow down the whole swarming procedure, will give us SOME chance of getting a new, viable queen to replace the one that goes with the swarm… who, of course, has not exactly been ideal anyway; Susan had a stronger start last year and yet produced FAR less than Mary and Liz.
I’ll be posting some pictures of the dead princesses soon.
We did swap the hive bodies, so Susan ought to recognize that she has extra space. Maybe this too will slow down her desire to swarm. I kinda doubt it, though; Susan has not really clicked for us as a hive. I’m thinking that the Conventional Wisdom says to requeen every couple of years, heading towards the fall; all this confirms the notion that if we do that, Susan’s the one to re-queen. I’d really love to get a queen with no genetic relation to the other 2 hives, and hopefully one that’s been bred in our sort of weather… even if I keep Mary (and maybe Liz, who we have not yet examined) un-re-queened. I DO like Mary’s qualities, quite a lot.
There will be pictures forthcoming, of Mary’s innards and some of Susan’s poor dead princesses.
All this messing really pissed off Susan- not that I can blame her! And Justin says that she mellowed out as soon as he quit aggravating her. (By that point I, with my lack of bee suit, had fled! but I spent the time prepping the super for Mary.)
We do have nicely mellow bees. :)