Loloku, my new Hawaiian queen from Kona sure has her work cut out for her! She is currently in the hive with only a handful of winter bees as her colony.
I introduced her to my queenless nuc last Wednesday. It was lucky I got my hands on a mated queen at all since beekeepers place their orders the previous fall. I called the bee store in desperation after I knew for certain Susannah was gone – I’m pretty sure the robbers bees went in and killed her during their raid over the weekend.
On Saturday, three days after I placed the cage in the hive, I checked to see how the colony was reacting to her. The few bees that were left seemed to be accepting and friendly, so I removed the cork to release her and then watched to see what would happen next.
I saw the bees welcome Loloku’s attendants by licking and grooming them as they came out of the cage. I took a few pics and was about to place the frame heavy with pollen in the hive and and then close it up when I spotted the queen making a run for it! That’s right, she was trying to escape. Gack!
I quickly stopped her mid-run and got her to climb on my hive tool. She ran up towards the end preparing to take flight, so I kept flipping it the other way. After doing this a couple of times, I panicked thinking she was going to fly off and dropped my entire hive tool, queen and all, between the frames and quickly placed the inner cover on.
I waited until I had a few bee spotters available and when my helpers were ready… they watched closely looking for a queen on the run while I made my move. I swiftly opened the hive, retrieved my hive tool, placed the frame heavy with pollen on the end and then closed it back up again – trying my best not to lose even one precious bee in the process.
I have since been discussing a plan of action with Ted, my mentor. It’s complicated, but basically, we’ve decided to possibly steal a frame of brood and bees from my strongest hive to try and save her.
Ted is planning to come and take a look with me tomorrow evening. If all goes as planned, he will take Loloku’s nuc to his place as they must be at least 5 km away in order for this to work the way we want it too.
So Loloku – here’s to your survival!