You can see the peanut shaped queen cell that was capped within the last week. We didn't see Red or any young larvae suggesting that she is no longer in the hive.
I am really sad to see the end of Red. She was the first queen I ever installed and the last remaining queen from last year. On the other hand, we loved her temperament - this hive has, until yesterday, been super sweet and gentle. We are very hopeful that Pink will be just a beautiful a queen as her mom.
Yesterday it was clear that things were not right in this hive as the bees were jumpier than I've ever seen them. Queenlessness is a very disturbing event for a colony. The queen exudes many pheromones including the one that a colony recognizes as home. Without her, there is no home.
Pink will be begin exuding her home pheromones shortly after mating. Her nuptials should take place a few days after she emerges from her natal cell. If all goes well, she will mate with many drones on her two or three nuptial flights.
You go girl!
The pebbles remind us that the colony has no larvae. Each week we will remove a pebble if there are no eggs or larvae present. Pink's subjects will only wait so long and without a strong, mated queen the colony will fall apart.
We've been there before and it isn't a pretty sight. Unmated workers will start laying and there are just bee that shouldn't be making babies. Workers can only make drones and drones don't help a colony. They have one job... and you know what that is!
Pink has a busy month a head of her. I hope she mates often and well.
Then gets her satiated butt back in the hive and lays lots of eggs!