Royal Duo

For two months, I battled with hive six over the Buckfast queen. They were determined to replace her and I was determined they wouldn’t. Never argue with bees: there’s no convincing them of your logic. Every five or six days, I went into the hive and removed the few queen cells they had built. Finally after two months of that, I gave up and stopped removing the cells mid-August. I was sad to let my Buckfast queen be replaced, but I was clearly not going to win.

I checked the hive again two weeks later, since a new queen should have emerged by then. I was surprised to find eggs in one frame. Surely she hadn’t hatched and mated already. One week later, I saw the Buckfast queen! I thought they were trying to replace her, but there she was. I have read a number of bee keeper accounts of hives with two queens. I thought perhaps they were waiting for the new queen to mate.

It’s been a month since that new queen has hatched, plenty of time for a mating flight. Today, I checked the hive again and saw BOTH queens. The mother Buckfast with her bright blue dot and her unmarked daughter.

This has been a year of firsts for me: first angry hive; first hive shake-out; and now my first dual queen hive. I don’t know how long the bees will keep both or if they’ll simply wait for the older one to die naturally. But whatever they do, the hive at this point has lots of eggs, larva, and capped brood and they are storing pollen and nectar for winter. I thought I would have to merge them with another hive this fall, but I feel they are strong enough to make it through the winter, especially with the additional syrup I’ve been feeding lately.

Check back soon for updates on the other five hives and their progress on winter preparations. I’ll be harvesting honey from at least one hive this week.

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