Sunday, June 3, 2012

A new black queen

Last month in May, I split one of my hives and left the queenless half to make a new queen for themselves from existing eggs in the hive. Today, about a month later, I checked in to see if there was a new laying queen. Success! There she was, and there was fresh brood in the hive, proving she was already laying. 
I was surprised at the new queen's appearance- she is mostly black, and seems a bit longer than my other queens. 
    When you let your bees raise queens from whatever bees are in your local area, you never really know what combination you'll get. Could be good or not so good, but I figure they will at least be semi-acclimatized to our northern winters. 
Some beekeepers like to keep more control on their hive genetics, but for me as a hobbyist, diversity is all part of the fun. I also know there is at least one longtime feral bee colony just a half mile from me- I hope this new queen is partly related to them!  I plan to make at least one daughter from this black queen later this month, to see how well her genetics do in surviving a cold winter.