After sitting for several days in a new position, Hive 5 finally emptied itself of the great majority of its original inhabitants, with all the older bees (the ones that sting) being in the box with the new queen, in the original position. I was able at last to go through them without getting stung, and the queen has been duly squashed. The only thing was, I was expecting to find a light coloured queen, with a red mark. What I found was a dark-coloured queen, with no mark. As I half expected, they've superseded, that is, they've raised a new queen, and got rid of the old. Given the number of bees I found in the top box, I suspect that swarmed as well. However, the deed is done, and the two halves have been reunited, without any of the tantrums I used to get with the old queen.
I now have four hives, all headed by queens of my own strain. The only thing is, three of them will be mismated with drones from other strains, largely those from the biggest hive, the bad-tempered one. I definitely don't want their daughters in my hives! I also have the two spare hives. So I need to wait for this generation of drones to die off, and start another round of queen raising. That way I should be able to go into winter with several queens which will, hopefully, be properly mated and able to provide daughters to carry on the strain.
2 days ago