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Buzzing News from the Discovery Room—Oh how sweet

July 13, 2012

By Jan Weems

Educator Martha Fisk inspects the hiveThis Wednesday we installed a new nuc of honeybees (a nuc is bee keeper parlance for a starter colony of honeybees and the box that contains this small colony) in the Discovery Room’s observation hive. The nuc came from a split of a much larger hive, the queen stayed with the larger portion at the apiaries, so our nuc has been queen-less since Tuesday evening. The nuc, donated by Matt Flint of Barton Creek Apiaries in Apex, arrived with three frames of brood and two of honey.

Yesterday we introduced a new queen bee into the hive. She is a generous donation from our friends at the North Carolina State University Bee Lab. She will spend about three days in a small queen cage with two workers as her attendants. The queen cage has an exit tunnel filled with sugar paste.  We hope that in the three days that it takes for the sugar paste to be eaten by hive workers, the pheromones from queen will be circulated throughout the hive.  If all goes as planned, this tawny and robust queen, painted with a brilliant yellow dot, will be accepted by her new subjects. And peace and prosperity will reign in the hive.

The bees and their new queen are on display in the Discovery Room during normal room hours.  You can also watch the bees enter and exit the Discovery Room from the Nature Research Center second floor bridge.  Look for the window with a big blue flower decal. Watch on sunny days to see if the field bees fly up over the buildings or down under the bridge on their way to find nectar and pollen.

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