There’s a Virgin Queen in My Pocket: A Photo Essay

25 May

The queen bee’s gone missing. And all the tell-tale signs are there: no brood, a restless wings-spread stance, and an anxious hum when you open the colony. I’ve got to give this otherwise strong hive a new brood mare, pronto.

Last night, I scored a virgin queen from Zia Queen Bee Co but night’s no time to install a queen. So Queen Elizabeth and I spent the night together chastely waiting for sunlight and attempting to stay warm.

Keeping the queen warm in my pocket til I can take her home

The queen spent the night in a sock on a shelf 6 inches above my head

This morning before my 9 a.m. meeting, I installed Good Queen Bess in the lonely hive. And now my job is to wait 3-4 weeks for her to:

  1. Engage in a productive sky orgy
  2. Return safely and start laying
  3. Be deemed acceptable by the colony

In the meantime, nature doesn’t need any meddling from me.

Anatomy of a queen cage

The chicken wire keeps our chickens away from the hive

I hope to see something like this: Fresh bee eggs on black foundation with spring pollen nearby

UPDATE 6/14/12: Success! The queen was successfully mated and is laying a monster batch of brood as we speak. View photos if you’re curious.


8 Responses to “There’s a Virgin Queen in My Pocket: A Photo Essay”

  1. caritrous May 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Love your musings on beekeeping. Why a virgin queen and not one already mated? Do you worry your workers will start laying in the meantime.

    • mistress beek May 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

      Howdy! Yeah, you’re right, I would have preferred a mated queen but none were easily available and I try to use “survivor bee” stock like that from Zia Queen Bee. So… fingers crossed, our girl gets herself mated ASAP.

      • caritrous May 26, 2012 at 3:35 am #

        Well I sure hope she finds herself a good orgy soon. I will have to check out Zia, survivor stock is always a good thing.

  2. Vince June 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Soo … did she?

    • mistress beek June 4, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      One more week until I find out! The queen breeder recommended I wait 3 weeks before digging back into that hive. From the energetic and focused behavior on the landing board, I’m optimistic.

      • Josh June 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

        Just found your blog and curious on how she is looking?

  3. mistress beek June 14, 2012 at 4:21 am #

    UPDATE 6/14/12: Success! The queen was successfully mated and is laying a monster batch of brood as we speak. View photos if you’re curious at:

  4. karcuri13 June 16, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    If I ever start a band, “Sky Orgy” is on the short list for names.

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