The past few days I’ve been concerned that there weren’t very many bees coming and going from Elizabeth, certainly nothing like the throngs of hardworking girls over at Mary and Susan. So today I took a look to see what was happening with Elizabeth. Alas, the queen is apparently dead. I saw a small amount of capped brood, and only a few thousand bees. There is an ample supply of honey, but at most 1/2 a frame of capped brood. Elizabeth’s days are numbered, and not in very big numbers.
We’ve sent an inquiry to an outfit that breeds queens in upstate New York and offers a variety of strains that are supposedly better adapted to life in chilly New England. If we introduce a queen and take a brood frame or two from Susan (who is eager to swarm), we should be able to restore the colony. Otherwise we’ll have to contact local beekeepers to see if we can find someone with a nuc to sell.
It’s all rather sad, though. Elizabeth was a very mellow hive, not as productive as the other two, kind of a cheerful slacker hive. I’ll miss her.