No, not the Horrible Schwarzenegger Movie.
So, today, even though the weather strongly affected my mood, and brought down a serious fog on my mood, I kept to my schedule of checking up on the bees 6 days after the installation.
The fantastic news is both queens have been released and seem to have been accepted by the hive. While we did not see the queens, as we did not want to bother the hives too much yet, they were happily building comb left and right, which is a sign of contentedness in bees, and generally means not much is wrong. This, along with the drones’ orientation flights and the regular influx of pollen, I am very confident these hives are doing well.
The less great is that the 8-frame hive had some oddly-bent frame foundation in it. The foundation had been bent so much the bees had started fusing them together between two frames. Luckily it seems they hadn’t spent too much effort in “fixing” this, so we just replaced the frames, but it made me worry about the stability of our setup. The other hive is all plastic, so that shouldn’t have any issues, but with this hive relying on all wax for its basic living quarters, this is a serious issue. I may choose to inspect them before the 14 day period and see how they are holding up. That being said, they did not see to mind the replacement or the situation too much, as they had already started their own beautiful comb on one of the neighboring frames. I will have pictures of this when and if we reinspect.
After we removed the empty queen cages and re-situated the frames, I watched the hive for a bit. Bees are truly remarkable and very flexible creatures. For an animal that is used to hollow trees, I do not feel hive bodies are a very comparable living situation. Constant upset and shuffling around cannot be good for these insects, yet they manage to do just fine. Even if you’re very rough, constantly crush the poor ladies when resettling boxes, they just keep going. My respect for this hobby is growing every time I look at them. To say a bee’s society works like clockwork is almost insulting to them, as their organic level of adaptation goes beyond the regulated and machine-like. Sure, bees have diseases and pests to worry about, but even with the daunting adversity they face, every new hive goes at it with this enthusiasm that makes you truly admire their survivalist level amnesia, forgetting generational failure to try again and again until something finally works.
Although I do not call myself religious, I find Virgil’s ode to this creature particularly moving:
Some say that unto bees a share is given
Of the Divine Intelligence, and to drink
Pure draughts of ether; for God permeates all-
Earth, and wide ocean, and the vault of heaven-
From whom flocks, herds, men, beasts of every kind,
Draw each at birth the fine essential flame;
Yea, and that all things hence to Him return,
Brought back by dissolution, nor can death
Find place: but, each into his starry rank,
Alive they soar, and mount the heights of heaven.
– Virgil, Fourth Georgic