Marked queen bee

The queen is larger than the workers and comes marked with a dot on her upper back.

We FINALLY found someone who can ship us a new Italian queen. An Italian queen bred in Hawaii to live in our Texas hive. She’s going to be quite worldly! Since she’s coming from Hawaii, we’ve decided to name Hive 2 “Kona”. We still haven’t named Hives 1 and 3, but if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below.

In researching how to re-queen our hive, I came across an article talking about getting the hives ready for winter and what the bees will do within the hive to prepare. Fascinating!! This is an excerpt from the article on “Tilly’s Nest” :

The queen has switched gears and begun to lay winter bees-hardier bees that have a longer lifespan designed especially for surviving the winter.

The drones, the male bees, were also evicted from the hive. With mouths too small to eat for themselves, they are dependent on the female worker bees for feeding. In the winter, they are not necessary for survival. Male drones never mate with their own queen and mating with outside queens will not resume until spring. One by one the worker bees carry the drones away from the hive, abandoning them in the wood chips. Other drones buzz by my head, frantic to enter the hive. Yet they are turned away by the female guard bees. They are desperate and confused. My heart goes out to them. The drones are defenseless. With no stingers, they are at the will of the female colony. The drones will all be eliminated from the colony before the first frost. Come spring, the queen will begin to lay drones again. For now, the colony will only consist of females.

Amazing creatures. And I’m not at all surprised to learn that the females are in charge!

Kona arrives on Friday and we’ll install her in the hive on Saturday. I’ll let you know how it goes.