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Last June we told you about our collaboration with Alvéole and the two new beehives we welcomed at the Port of Montreal. Here’s the latest from our hives! 🐝

On Monday, August 26, an apiarist from Alvéole came to visit our hives and give us news about our local colonies. She had a special mission on this visit: one of the hives seemed to have lost its queen and she had to check if this was indeed the case. To do so, she completely dismantled the hive and removed each frame to closely examine it.

Her finding was a non-finding. There was no queen in the hive. How can such a thing happen? The apiarist explained that it could be due to a death or a swarming, meaning the queen left the hive with a portion of the bees to start a new colony.

To prevent the hive from dying out over the winter, she performed a delicate operation: reintroducing a queen. To succeed, she had to insert a box containing a queen in the middle of the existing hive, and she had to take precautions because of the risk that the bees in the hive would reject the new queen and kill her! To stop them from doing that, she wrapped the box holding the queen in a sheet of paper.

This layer of paper will let the bees get used to the new queen’s pheromones before they have a chance to kill her. Their reflex will be to pierce the layer of paper to reach the queen. The good news is that will take enough time for the bees to accept the new queen and recognize her as one of their own.

So, the hive can spend the winter quietly and make a strong comeback when the warm weather returns, and the bees can get back to being industrious with the spring flowers.

We’re excited about the next honey crop! 🍯

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