Early this morning I exercised the local pickup option from a nearby queen producer and picked up my new queen in a parking lot outside of San Diego. By late morning I was back home and suiting up for a session with the bees.
As detailed earlier, the decision to get a new queen was driven by the lack of signs of an active queen. In the back of my head, I kept hoping to open the hive and find signs that the old queen had started laying again, and, with a new queen in hand, my backup plan for that case was to try a split. To that end, when I went out to the hive I put the new queen cage in a shoebox for a bit of shade and set it a couple of feet out of the way while I opened up the hive.
As I expected, there were no signs of egg laying activity, nor was I able to find the old queen. The plan at that point was to go ahead with the new queen introduction, but when I went over to the box I found that the new queen’s cage was surrounded by about 50 bees. I was able to pick up the cage without bothering the bees on it, and on watching it for a few minutes I couldn’t tell if the bees which had found her were welcoming of hostile to the new queen. They certainly seemed to be interested and were quite gentle to work with, so I took that as a good sign for success and proceeded with the installation.
Now it’s time to sit back and let the bees work themselves out for a few days. I’m very curious what is going on in the hive and if they will accept the new queen or if they are doing their best to attack the imposter of their reigning monarch, but I figure my curiosity is a lower priority than the colony well- being this week.