I decided to split my hive that I started in June, as it is filling 2 1/2 deeps. I purchased a queen from Zia Queen Bees and on her arrival, my 12-year old son and I suited up and headed to the back yard to introduce her to her new home.
The original queen had been split off and taken to a new location, so there were 2 deeps (I added a new deep to both splits in case they grab any last minute nectar flow around here) that had been queenless for 24 hours sitting in the old location in the front of our garage. I had read that it was best to remove the attendant bees from the queen cage prior to introducing, and since I wanted the best chance of success this late in the season, I resolved to do just that.
This is where things started to get interesting. As I hadn't really thought through how I was going to get 4 workers out of the JZBZ queen cage, I just thought I'd pop it open and grab the queen when she made her way out as the workers exited.
When I opened the cage, Her Majesty ZOOOMS! right out before I can react, and starts buzzing around our heads. Thats $43.50 w/ tax and shipping thats about to fly away! And sure enough, after a moment, she flies off.
I tell my son to wait and run to grab some lemongrass oil and sugar syrup, which I sprinkle on the queen cage which still has the workers crawling around it. I figure this is the closest thing she has to a hive and she might be back.
Sure enough, a few minutes later she shows up, big yellow spot on her back, buzzing around the cage- and me. I hope to catch her as she stops to take a rest, but she's been in that cage for almost 3 days, and seems to have no desire to stop. My son is calling out a play by play as I stand still, hoping to grab her- "She's above you! No, behind you! There she goes! Wait! She's by your leg!"
Suddenly, it hits me- if she can't find the hive, the hive can find her! We run around to the front of the garage, yank the top deep off the hive, and run back to where the cage is sitting on a small table. I put the deep next to it, open the top, and Her Majesty starts a slow, circling descent towards it- exactly like a helicopter pilot reconning an LZ. After a moment, she alights on a frame and saunters down into the hive like she owns the place.
I stick the deep back on the other one, close her up, and tell my son, "That is NOT how it's done!"...but we had a good laugh anyway.
Hopefully she's still there next week!