RIP Queen Freddie

Precious cargo onboard

Needless to say I didn't have a brilliant night's sleep last night knowing that I had to dispatch of Queen Freddie in the morning. Being a new beekeeper I've never had to carry out any Royal beheadings... until now.

I dropped the husband off at work, who gave me strict instructions that he didn't want any 'bee mess' in his new car, and drove over to Harbury to pick up my new Queen and her small colony. John Home gave me the box of bees and said that he'd better tape it up to prevent any getting out while I drove them to their new home. That would have been a serious bee emergency! None did escape (phew) but I do have to admit, that it was very bizarre driving 9 miles with a box 5,000 buzzing bees in the passenger seat foot well.

As the Beehaus is essentially two hives in one, the plan was to take out the small removable section of the divider board and replace it with newspaper. For those non bee-geeks - you can't just stick a new colony with another one as bees get used to a certain queen's pheromone or scent and might kill a new queen if she didn't smell right. So, by putting newspaper between the two colonies, as the bees nibble their way through the paper the Queen's pheromone starts wafting around and the new bees get used to her and then eventually accept her as their own. 

Newspaper in the removable section of the divider board
However, doing this means that you have to get rid of one queen because you cannot have two queens in the same hive, it might result in Queen Wars and the outcome may not be favourable. So, there was no getting around it - I had to find Queen Freddie and kill her. But I did get quite a shock when I opened up the other side of the Beehaus - the colony had drastically reduced and there were loads of dead bees at the bottom.

Lots of dead bees :(
With Freddie not laying any new worker brood, the bees were just slowly dying out as bees don't live very long. It didn't take me long to spot her as there weren't many bees on the frames. So, I pinched her off and just squashed her between my fingers. It wasn't my finest minute but I had to do it. RIP Queen Freddie.

So, then I had to open the bee box and get the new bees into the hive. In the meantime I had been wafting smoke around as I wanted calmness especially as the buzzing in the box was getting louder. When I did open the lid, the bees flew straight up but I tried to be very quick. As I was putting the new frames into the hive I did notice that there was sealed brood, which is  a very good sign. I didn't see the Queen (what should I call this one?) but as I was being speedy I'm sure she stayed on the frames and didn't drop off. I then quickly closed them up and put a 1:1 sugar syrup solution above the opening in the cover board of the new hive and put the roof on.

Feeder on top of the opening in the crown board
So, the plan is (in theory) that the bees will nibble through the paper and integrate with each other. According to my Beehaus manual, I have to leave them be for a week and then when I come back they should hopefully be one big, happy bee family.  Fingers crossed. 

If nothing else, they have a beautiful new home with blue bells to admire

One of my new ladies coming up to say hi (more likely telling me to bugger off)


  1. It's never fun bumping off a queen. Well done for getting through it.


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