I had this vain hope that my first year as a beekeeper might become a hit out of the park; no problems, strong hives, few diseases and gobs of honey to extract. As we now all know, I’m instead on the steep learning where I get to learn about all the mistakes one can make.
I lost two queens earlier this year – one from an accident, I think, and the other because I had laying workers that wouldn’t take a replacement virgin queen. I promised a while ago to tell you how to get rid of laying workers, something that I’ve been told is actually a lot of trouble.
Amanda and I did a video (see below) that shows how we successfully got rid of the laying workers and then reinstalled the queen.
Most beekeepers I’ve talked to have suggested just abandoning the hive and putting the rest of the bees in with Amanda’s hive, but we have only two and I didn’t want to lose one. I was willing to make the effort to get rid of the layers. I had good advice from Jaquie Bunse, the Fraser Valley bee inspector for the Ministry of Agriculture. In following the advice, I managed to restore the hive. It’s still relatively weak; on Sunday I checked and while the bottom brood box is packed with capped brood and new eggs and larvae, the replacement queen has not yet moved up into the second box.
That’s going to be a bit of a problem if her workers don’t pack away enough pollen and honey for the winter. But that’s another story for another day.
Let me know what you think.