The replacement queen bee came today, and hurray! She and her attendants were very much alive.
She has to have a few worker bees with her all the time, because she literally would starve to death without someone to feed her. Even if the food were right beside her, she wouldn’t eat on her own.
Here’s another shot. It’s hard to see her with all those workers getting in the way, but she’s the big bee on the left.
One the right side of the queen cage, there is a big plug of candy. That is what keeps the queen from escaping the cage too early. The worker bees in my hive don’t know her yet, and they might kill her, if I just dumped her into the hive. But by the time they manage to eat through the candy, her pheromones will have spread through the hive, and she’ll be the undisputed queen of all.
Here’s a video I took of the install:
And a short follow-up:
The bees were very eager to get to her. They were even crowding into the back side of the hive, where the rear of the queen cage was visible. They couldn’t see her from that side, but they were trying to chew through the wood to release her! I could actually hear them chewing!
I’m not sure how long it will take before she’s free, but I would guess not more than a day or so. I’ll be checking on their progress tomorrow.
I tried to get a shot of the new comb they have made inside the hive, but it’s super hard with all the reflections off the glass.
This one was the best of the lot. If you look right at the bottom of the swarm of bees, you can just see something white sticking out. That’s the bottom bit of the comb! I wish you could see it better – it’s so pretty. Bees are true artists.
The “baby” quail are now fully adult, being a few days over six weeks. Loki is free in the coop with them, and they are all getting along splendidly – even with six males. The young boys (all FIVE of them) are too young to be worrying themselves over females just yet. They just want to run and jump and roll in the dirt. I’ll let them all hang out until I see signs of trouble brewing, and then it’ll be time for quail dinner.
I did end up with three girls, and actually, I like their coloring better than the boys, so that’s nice. Let me show you.
Here’s a boy:
Notice the almost entire lack of spots. This one actually has a few more spots than some; a few are almost entirely cream and gold. Also notice how dark and thick the brown is around the back of the neck. I can sex them just by their heads, with this variety.
Another shot, showing the chest:
Here’s a girl:
Notice how many more spots she has. And this one is my “light female” – one of the others is much darker. She almost looks like a leopard. I don’t have any pictures of her, because she persisted in hiding in the nest box. See her head; she has very pretty and distinctive markings around her cheek.
Quail are funny creatures. When they are little babies, they are super sweet and tame, then when they grow up, they suddenly become very wild. They don’t want anything to do with me, and run from me like they never saw a human before! Then, they become tame again, as they realize I’m the one who brings them treats. Two of the little girls have figured this out. They come right up to me, stretch themselves up as high as they can, and stare me down until I offer them millet in my hand. Today, one of the girls actually climbed right up into my hand to eat! It’s a good thing I get to keep the girls; it would be hard to process and eat such trusting little sweeties!