Yesterday, I drove out to a town that was once a small farming community, and is now a suburb, and spent the whole morning working with two brother beekeepers who would sell me a queen. Larry and David were gentle, knowledgable, respectful... and skeptical of my story. They said they would nonetheless sell me a queen. In their opinion, whether through a swarm I missed or a natural supercedure, there is a new virgin queen running around in Twain. These are difficult to spot. Then they asked if I had my veil and wanted to spend some time looking at queens while they worked. I said YES, listened and watched and learned until my head spun, and then headed home with a bag of home-grown asparagus, some apples, and some squash. I also bought some Permacomb to help out my congested girls. More on Permacomb later.
Friday afternoon, I went into Twain, found Eleanor, and could not kill her, not yet. I placed her successor, Abigail, as Larry and David instructed me: in her queen cage with a hole in the candy, but the cork still in place for a while. I intend to name her Abigail, after Abigail Adams, if she survives my introduction.
I put a mark on Eleanor (for practice) and put her in a ball jar with some of the burr comb I'd cut. It also has some honey in it. I also grabbed a few attendants: I can always put them back, after all.
Eleanor managed to get out of the jar (lid was crooked) after I set her down: thought she was a goner then, but found her clinging to a curtain. Poor terrified thing. Even harder to kill her now.
I decided to think about it overnight. And what a difference a day makes! MaryEllen emailed me urgently – her observation colony needs a queen who does not lay so much! A perfect new kingdom for Eleanor!
So Eleanor will go on to a life in public relations, much like the British monarchy. I will keep you posted on the further adventures of Abigail.