Adventures and misadventures with the Pirate Queen
So we split the beehive, putting half up at a friends' paddock with our faithful Blue Dot queen and leaving the half with the baby queen down at our place.
After a week we checked the hive up the hill, and found it had been invaded by a swarm - their Pirate queen had killed our faithful Blue Dot queen ( they come marked with coloured dots so you know which year you bought them...) and unceremoniously turfed her body out the front of the hive: we know this because we found her!
The Pirate queen was busy laying and seemed to be doing what a queen should do, the bees were busy with bee-work, so we went away to read up on how to deal with this.
A few days later we went back and the hive was full of honey. No eggs, no queen, very little brood. Just loads of honey and quite a lot of bees getting a bit unsettled due to the lack of a queen. There were a number of queen cells - baby queens in the making, so we removed those and ordered a new baby queen from Otto who grows superb queens.
We have installed the new baby queen and today we'll go back up and see how she is doing. She will be hatched by now, but not laying yet. Hopefully the bees will have calmed down in the presence of a queen, even though she's still just young. In a couple of weeks, all things being equal, the hive should be humming and settled again. Adventures! and not even on the high seas....