Topbar Beekeeping

I'm an urban topbar beekeeper in Albuquerque, NM. I manage hives in backyards and small organic farms within city limits. These hives are probably pollinating your veggie patches right now. Visit my website at:


Mail Order Queens

My Honeybee Genetics queens finally arrived from their long postmarked voyage from Vacaville, CA. Unfortunately, they arrived a day later than I expected and I only had 2 hours to pick up the bees and install them into their new homes before the family had to hit the road for a camping trip.

The packaging says it all

My local post office called as soon as the bees had arrived. I opened up the package and gave the bee's cage a spritz of water to keep them hydrated. The queen bee travels in her own little cage with her own entourage of worker bees to tend to her every desire. The queen bee doesn't feed herself or clean her own waste. She is good for laying eggs and that's about it. 

Each cage has it's own queen and an entourage of workers
On one end of the cage, there is a candy plug made out of honey and powdered sugar. When I install a new queen in an old hive, the old hive's bees have to eat the sugar plug to get to the queen. You can't introduce a queen to an established hive because they won't recognize her "smell" and will instantly kill her. Most of the bees will try and kill her, but a few bees will feed her though the cage and she will start "smelling" familiar to the old hive. If all works out well, by the time the bees eat their way into the queen, they will accept her. 

I was able to install the new queens into Ethiopia, who's previous queen magically disappeared and into Ireland, who didn't make a new queen after I removed their old queen. I didn't have enough time to install the last two queens, so I carried their cages home in my front pocket (a great place to carry queen cages because your body temperature and humidity is the perfect bee environment). I won't be able to instal the last 2 queens until Sunday so I put the queen cages in a large orange queen cage, with a dollop of honey and about 20 nurse bees I brushed into the orange box. The queens can stay in the large cage with worker bees for up to a week. 

Shirt pockets were made to carry queens

Large Queen Carrier with a dollop of honey

Adding some worker bees 
After I added the nurse bees, I closed up the orange carrying case and put it in my house. I can't leave the queen cages with queens in them open in a hive with a loose queen. If I do, the loose queen will spend days trying to kill the queens inside their cages rather than laying eggs. 

No comments:

Post a Comment