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Death Sentence

The verdict is in, and it’s not looking good for the Hive 2 queen.  I posted this question to the Organic Beekeeper’s mailing list:

I cracked open my (one) hive last weekend to see how the girls made it through
the winter, and was a little worried about the laying pattern. It seemed very
uneven and sparse and there were a goodly number of drone cells mixed in. I had
a friend with a camera over, and he took some pictures of the brood (and the
queen). Would someone mind taking a look and let me know if I should be
worried?

Followed by a link to the photos that I posted in my last entry. Perhaps I should have allowed the queen to have her lawyers present, but this is post-9/11 America, and justice must be swift and blind.  The judges have returned their verdict:

The queen is getting old and starting to drone in with worker brood, or old
drone laying queen and time for either natural supercedure or replacement […]
This time of year in early spring, hives do though normally want to replace queens
like this on [their] own.  [- Dee]

I took a look at your pics. it looked like your queen was marked for 06 so
she’s not really that old but she might not have bred with alot of drones and
her productivity is suffering now, but this is assuming alot. from your pics
it’s hard to make an accurate assessment of your queen. what I look for this
time of year is still a good tight brood pattern just alot smaller than in ther
summer this allows the bees to keep the brood warm as they are not so spread
out or spotty. If your in doubt requeen especially if you only have one hive it’s
a lot cheaper to requeen than it is to buy a package of bees. many beekeepers
requeen yearly to ensure productive hives others every two years. don’t feel
bad if you have to send here to the happy hive in the sky it’s for the best.
[- Heath]

Happy hive in the sky. Don’t feel bad?  Easy for you to say, you don’t have to…to…(sniff)…to…

Oh, I can’t say it. Somebody else tell her!  I can’t face her!

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