After my hive inspection on Sunday, and learning that Mann Lake still had packages for sale, I decided that I needed to take action on my weak hive. They could continue to barely survive for many more months, but I prefer they thrive. On Monday morning, I ordered a 3# package, which comes with a newly mated queen. This of course meaning that I’d have to get rid of the current queen 24 hours before installing the new queen and package. This time allows the hive to realize they are queenless, but is short enough that they are unlikely to get it together to really raise a new one. It also allows the pheromones of the old queen to dissipate from the worker’s memory.
After coming home from work last night, I had one hour to look for the queen in this small hive and kill her. I inspected each frame several times, but having never been good at spotting the queen, I was becoming discouraged, and the bees were getting cold and angry. I began to reaasemble the hive, nearly complete when I finally spotted her long, tapered body. I set her aside, far away on the deck, and finished assembling the hive.
I showed the queen to David and then using a key, I decapitated her. He asked if I felt bad. My human brain did feel bad; this incredibly bee survived for a year, a terrible winter and continued to lay eggs. But, my bee brain had to consider the entire hive and what would be best for them. Because of that, I cannot feel bad.
Now, we are off to Hackensack, MN to retrieve the new package!