• Bob Baskin

Queen of Sheba

Not too much is known about the Queen of Sheba, but we can be fairly sure that she was a wise, intelligent ruler from North Africa. Suitable, since this colony managed to find a niche behind a church where she could be air-conditioned. Also suitable, because these bees were definitely africanized to some extent - a safe assumption of any feral colony in Tucson, AZ.

Had I thought this one through a bit more, I could have rigged my SJCAM up on the AC unit next to the hive for some great video of the removal process. Live and learn.


When a hive a cut out, a responsible beekeeper wants the relocation to go as efficently and safely for the bees as possible. Normally comb is attached to walls/ceilings, which keep it upright. However, when a relocation occurs, this comb must be unattached from wherever it is. If you're careful enough, the comb can be kept well in-tact and rubber-banded/strung/wired into a standard Langstroth frame, which will keep the comb upright. The bees will then stabilize the comb within the frame given time and resources. If the comb is destroyed, the bees will still recycle it, but this takes valuable time and energy. We were able to save about 95% of this comb due to how accessible it was and because it wasn't very honey full (which makes comb very heavy).

This colony took two vacuum boxes to relocate. During transfer, I use ice packs to keep the bees cool (even early morning in Tucson can be in the 100s). The honey bee colony equivalent of the human 98.6 degrees is 95.5 degrees Fahrenheit. They can certainly survive fluctuations, and wise use their wings to evaporate water to cool if necessary, but brood (baby bees) only withstand minimal fluctuation. It's very important to keep brood healthy during a relocation. Not only are they one of the most vital resources for the bees, but if the queen is damaged during the move, the bees can only raise a new one with eggs or very young larvae.

I was only able to catch a little of it here, but if honey bee workers are released/knocked out right in front of a hive they recognize, they march in like ants. In this case, their queen and comb are already in that box, so they're headed to get reacquainted.

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