Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Two Queens Are Better Than One

(With apologies to our British friends)

It's Official

Two master beekeepers have now confirmed that the pictures taken on Sunday show the Queen of Colony 1 laying like a champ (well, they did not mention any championships, but I think she's a winner!)

So, to summarize:

We have confirmed that Colony 2 is its traditionally healthy self, with lots of eggs and larvae to show for a mere week in their new home. I wish I had done so well (not in the eggs and larvae production department, mind you, just getting the furniture arranged, etc.) I did not see Queen 2, but her handiwork is obvious.

The Master Beekeepers have confirmed that Colony 1 has a freed and working Queen, and that the upswing in activity is probably related to her laying out the good ol' pheromones for her new posse.

Time for a bee news bit: the Queen's scent runs the show inside the colony, but she does not spray it around directly. The Queen gets her aura out there by being groomed by (and brushing against) the bees who take care of her (she's pretty much stuck laying in one cell after another, so they bring her food and water, etc.) Those bees brush against other bees, and so on.

It's possible that being in the queen cage made it harder for Queen 1 to get the word out. But she's free, and she's OK, and two colonies of young'uns are on the way.

This News Makes Us Very Happy

I am not sure that my husband was happy for precisely the same reasons as me: his bonus may have been less hand-wringing around the house. But he likes the bees, and has started to name them. Thus far we have Buzzy, Sting, and Queenie. Only 19,997 more names to go (until the youngsters arrive).

Happiness like this needs company, so I started writing people.

The first note went to the BBC programme (on Radio 4) which caught my imagination. It was the usual "Sorry, we cannot respond to emails due to volume" situation on the bounce back. BUT...

The reporter who did the story wrote me back!

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 18:04:08 +0100 (BST)
From: "Woman's Hour"
Subject: RE: /radio4/womanshour/2003_45_wed_03.shtml

Dear {Phang},

Many thanks for your message. I am so glad you liked the feature - I really enjoyed making it - up on the London skyline with the bees - all the best Sara Parker (reporter) sorry about the pro forma

We hope this answers your query.

Best wishes, Woman's Hour

This was delightful!

The second note went to Mark Bittner, who wrote "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill," and whose example kept me going through a number of raised eyebrows. We have not heard from Mark, but the movie of the above (*highly recommended*) is really growing in release by word of mouth, and there IS only one of him...

Finally, there is a "web ring" devoted to urban wildlife run out of a park in the UK, and I asked if this blog could be added, and it was (check out the box at the lower right). Thanks, folks: it is good to be with friends.

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