So, good news/bad news. Bad news: the queen in my hive at Arlington Farms ceases to be. How do I know? I found some gnarly-looking queen cells while inspecting the hive a few days ago.
Man, was I bummed.
But glad to see the bees have already been hard at work to raise a new queen. Which leads me to my good news. See that weirdo bee on the left? She’s a virgin queen. I say “a” and not “the” because there can be several at once.
When a young virgin queen emerges from a queen cell, she will generally seek out virgin queen rivals and attempt to kill them.
The surviving virgin queen will fly out on a sunny, warm day (probably today) and mate with 12-15 drones. She’ll store up to 6 million sperm so she can continue to lay eggs for the rest of her life– about 2,000 eggs /more than her own bodyweight in eggs every day.
If all goes well, we should see some eggs and baby bees in 4-6 weeks. Long live the queen.