I painted the telescoping covers today that Gerrit made. The virgin queens in our homemade incubator emerged today, so that means all the queens in the mating nucs should have also emerged by now, probably yesterday. In another week or so they should take their mating flights and a week or two after that they should start laying eggs. We quickly made some queen cages and queen candy and put the queens in them with some attendant worker bees.
The bees in the mating nucs have pretty much settled down now and are foraging in the neighborhood. Yaupon is blooming as well as holly and many wildflowers so the Spring nectar flow is on.
Our “experiments”/plans are progressing well and we are happy about how things are going. I call them “experiments” because this is the first time we have done these things ourselves. We have studied and read and watched videos on how to raise queens, but this is the first time we have done it successfully ourselves. It is an interesting learning experience as well as giving us a great sense of accomplishment.
If we can count these mating nucs as new hives, now we have 39 hives, up from 23 a week ago. They may not all be successful, but it is possible that they all could be.