After unpacking the small parcel, I quickly threw on my bee suit, lit a smoker and headed out to the hive. It took very little time to get the queen cage tucked between two frames in the brood box and I soon had the hive reassembled.*
My main concern is whether the worker bees are too old to support the colony. A worker bee only lives for about six weeks in the Summer. This colony swarmed a fortnight ago so it has been more than two weeks since any eggs were laid in the hive, realistically the brood less interval is longer as there is no sign of capped brood, so my guess is three weeks without new bees.
This means that my worker bees have about three weeks left in them so this new queen needs to be out and laying as soon as possible as a worker takes twenty one days from egg laying to emergence. It is going to be tight and I may have to consider transferring a frame of capped brood from my other hive to keep this one going.
There is nothing I can do at present. I just need to be patient and let nature take it's course. In two weeks time I will inspect the hive and make a decision then.
The rest of the day rumbled on and I finally finished my presentation and passed it out for review. I may have seemed to be making a meal of this task, but the message is that the team need to pull up their socks if they are to succeed in their objective. Apparently this message needs to be presented in a positive manner and telling them they are a shower of shit is not an option!**
This evening's activity was an hour of Pilates in a Village Hall just down the road. It was pretty intense and an aching thigh suggested that one of the exercises was working a muscle that hadn't been much used for a while. The optimist in me thinks that I will bounce out of bed tomorrow morning; the pessimist thinks I will be crippled.
---* It would have taken even less time if 30% hadn't volunteered me to give our Cleaner; Penny a quick tour of the hive.
** That was my Plan A and is still my preferred approach. I have worked with some Tits in the past, but never have I come across a complete team without the necessary skills or experience for what is fast approaching.