I knew I would need to combine two queenless hives once their populations decreased enough to be manageable. I chose today. I knew that the one hive, despite my best efforts over the last five weeks, chose to not move up and take advantage of the space I was giving it and had swarmed. Probably 80% had flown the coop with the old queen. If not with the new queen, there were very few bees inside this box, which had once been my strongest hive.
So while I shuffled frames between the two deep hive bodies, I found a queen walking around. This hive was not queenless! I put her and one attendant in the new hive and watched her for a few minutes. She went from being alone, to being under a ball of 30 bees, to this scene of 10 workers surrounding her. She had a constant stream of ‘greeters.’
Now that they have a queen, I’m hoping that I quit getting stung in the thigh every time I open this hive.