The Russian Queen

“The Bees have arrived” she called. The Postmistress had received a delivery of bees.   bees-003She has me on speed dial due to my tendency to receive unusual mail.  So off I went to collect them. I left the dogs home this one time.

Our new Russian Queen and her attendants circled in their little box sat inside a bigger box of lively buzzing Italians. She has been mated with Russian drones so all her progeny will be Russian. A Queen only flies with the drones once in her life, the mating will produce enough eggs for a lifetime. She is dark and a little smaller than the Italian worker bees that have come with her but very well marked with a big white dot on her back. And vigorous, they are all very vigorous. bees-010

I was going to take a photo of the installation for you but this time the bees all came heaving out of the box the moment I removed the lid. There was a tiny hole between their can of syrup and the Queen’s box and out they came, so I sped up the process a little.

This time, after I had opened up the box, instead of dumping the bees out all in a rush, I turned the box upside down  and secured it into the hive so they could come out in a more stress free manner.  You will remember that the last time I installed a package of bees they would not come out of the box at all, and took so long to get organised that a good number of them died that night in the cold. This time the bees are much more active.bees-007

Tomorrow I will take the travelling box out of the super (before they fill it with comb) and replace the frames I had to remove to fit the box in, then leave them for three or four days to settle in before I check to see if they have released their Russian Queen. It usually takes them a few days to get her out and hopefully by then they are all under her spell.

Other than that I worked on an outside pen for Red pig so he can be right next door to the other two plonkers when they go to live outside and of course I weeded the required three buckets of weeds for them to eat, after the rain the weeds are so easy to pull and look at this! You were right!bees-030 There are shoots coming on the grapevines! Wonderful.  There is a lot of dead wood to prune out but I shall give them time to recover first. I have men working out here for the next few days building pergolas for the next two plantings of grapes this autumn.  Now that I have finally worked out how to make wine I am going to up the ante. And the grapes will shade both the east and south sides of the house, cooling those rooms down even more. No air conditioning used here.bees-033

Good morning. The bees came just in time because we have blossoms on the young apple trees! I feel very positive about this hive.


I hope you all have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farmy


64 Comments on “The Russian Queen

  1. How exciting! Though I do hope the Queen doesn’t decide to annex the farm for Russia 😉

  2. *gasp* Am I the first comment? Unheard of! Just came from the hospital. Nothing to report yet. I’m happy to see your bees. Doesn’t apple blossom honey sound wonderful?

  3. Wow that is a lot of bees! Yay for the burgeoning vines 🙂 Laura

  4. Oh my, the farmy is buzzing with activity. And, yes, our grapevine was slow this year also. Mine is slightly ahead of yours but then we didn’t have your horrid winter. Lovely to see all the bees have arrived. I must ask: Do you get stung ever?

  5. … and this year, Celi will have honey for her toast, and wine to toast a successful day. Good to see the vines were strong enough to withstand that shocking winter. And I hope Her Majesty settles in quickly.

    • At least half of the vines are showing signs of life.. such a relief, though there will be some very hard pruning back to the strongest buds.. c

  6. Good luck with your bees! Is there any likelihood that the Italian worker bees will have a problem with the Russian queen because she is a different variety? Are the Russian/Italian bees more resistant to the colony collapse disorder that’s been such a problem with honeybees over the last few years? What is their temperament? It all sounds fascinating to me!


    • They are more resistant to mites because they are cleaner, of course nothing is resistant to the pesticide build up which is what is causing the collapses and disappearances. Also they get up later in the spring so will be less prone t freezing to death. much hardier.. c

  7. does Mr Putin know that you have his bees….do hope that they are happier than him, he always looks so miserable

  8. So nice to return to the Farmy after a week away – I shall have to back-track when I get a minute t see what I’ve missed! Glad to be here to see the arrival of those long-awaited Russians. Hope all goes well this time around!

  9. So wonderful to see these glimpses of spring. We’re slowly getting there up north here in Minnesota. The lilacs are not even blooming yet and temps could dip to freezing this week. But the grass is green and we are getting way too much rain.

  10. Good morning Celi,
    Where do you get all your energy with all those different projects? It is amazing just reading about it. Good luck with your bees and the grapes. I will have a toast with honey this morning and think of all the bees buzzing on your farm.

  11. I am so hoping that this hive flourishes famously Celi! I have a feeling that it will! 🙂 xo

  12. Oh happy day for the vines!! We noticed here too that many of the shrubs, trees and vines were late setting on when we endured a couple of very late freezes. Plants are beginning to show signs of life finally. I did lose some things, due to the drought and seemingly colder than usual winter for the south. We are getting some much-needed rain as well. Now if we can just keep those tornadoes and hailstones away! I really need to check into bee keeping. It seems fascinating to me… and oh, how I do love honey!

  13. The Postmistress has you on speed dial–that is so cool. Glad to see your bees are revved, ready to go.

    • Oh they were a loud noisy bunch! Very active..very aggressive …very healthy looking and very few arrived dead..I’m hoping this group does better than her last. We will all get to watch the progress!

      • Yes, Connie, I hope these new bees do much better for Miss C.

  14. Yay for bees! Yay for grapes! Yay for new pergolas! It all sounds great and perfect for the farmy. 🙂 Nice to have a disposal system for the dreaded weeds. I’m afraid to put them in the compost because of possible propagation, so just throw them out and it always seems like a waste.

  15. Yeah for the bees and grape vies! My crape myrtle is showing life too – shows you should never write something off too quickly.
    My friend was round the other day and said all her bees were gone! This is her first time at keeping bees and got them last summer. I asked if there were any dead in the hive and she said only a few the rest had left. So I don’t know if the Queen died or decided she didn’t like her palace and moved out. She is going to try again, must tell her about the Russian Queen and her Italian subjects!
    Just come in to cool off from turning the ground over ready to plant my tomatoes and cucumbers. It is hot and humid and feels like July rather than May – in the 90’s past couple of days and very humid. Heavy rain due Thursday and then a cold front so back to 70 and low 40’s at night. Wish the weather would make up it’s mind, my plants are confused!!
    Hugs, Lyn

  16. I’m so glad you’re seeing more grape vine life. The little life we saw on Saturday was encouraging and I left thinking a good rainfall would really cause them to begin growing again.

    And now you have the bees to help out on the farmy!

  17. I am so excited for you and your bees. I just watched a 3 hour DVD on beekeeping and they had mail order bees, too. How many hives do you have? How much honey did you get last year? The state with the most Apiaries is North Dakota, of all cold places. Now you can make beeswax candles, too. Nothing blooming here yet. So relieved about your grapes, too.

  18. I’m jealous of your bees. I would so love to have a hive in our backyard and do my part toward saving them. (There’s a local company here in Portland putting hives in neighborhoods, including the roofs of hotels and grocery stores.) But, alas, my husband is a bit freaked out by it. So I shall live vicariously through you and your bees!

  19. my grapes have burst forth too. i am thinking of training grapes on a pergola on the side of my house. are there any downsides you can think of?

    • Grapes need to be pruned every year, so as long as you can reach them to pick and prune them so they don’t grow OVER the house I think that is a lovely idea, i especially love the leaves too, they just Look refreshing and cool.. Is that instead of the dead wisteria? c

      • it’s instead of the dead roses. the “dead” wisteria put out 3 feet of new growth in 2 days. it’s back!!!! gulp!

        • Our neighbor in Germany had his south facing side of his house covered with grapes. She pruned them with a ladder and I loved eating the small dark grapes. I still buy them today when I see them. It looked enchanting.

  20. Cinders, that is beeutiful news about the Russian queen and her Italian subjects! 🙂 I wonder if they’ve each learned each other’s language? Of course, they have…they’re bees!! I think we need to have a vote in to name our new Queen. My vote is beautiful Queen Tatiana!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your process. I could connect to so much of it. I like the idea of writing during a big rain storm. I wonder if the negative ions in the air helped?

      • Did you know that beeswax candles give off negative ions when burned?

        • I made some last year too though I keep them for special occassions, the fragrance is divine.. c

          • I have to buy my beeswax from a small apiary in Illinois, probably near you, on Etsy. I burn beeswax candles, especially tea lights, every day. It helps my asthma and breathing in general.

  22. And so the seasons turn, and all seems right. Bees are buzzing, leaves are unfurling, flowers blooming. Sigh. It seems at last your winter has loosened its grip. Now I also feel like eating toast with honey… it’s too early for a glass of wine.

  23. Long live the Queen! and her subjects. I read quite a few US blogs, people with small farms using sustainable practices, and I think they all lost their bees in the nasty winter you had. Buut hi-ho, summer is coming and they’ll have a wonderful time. Today I’m off to join a blockade a couple of hours from where I live to protest coal seam gas mining in a richly productive dairying and farming area, and to (maybe) stand in the road when the drilling rig comes rolling along. Please send cake if the riot squad nabs me and I end up in jail. I have a story and links on my blog about the new town that has sprung up on a supportive farmer’s land, 2,000 strong, to stop this merciless tide of big industry greed, if anyone’s interested.

    • You brave girl! Yes i shall send a cake should you end up in the Clink. If you would like me to bake a saw into the cake just send me a message with the code word Saw in it. They will never work it out. We will bring the horses to spirit you away! Greed is a horrible thing to watch. I hope you can stop them.

    • Oh Nanette, good on you! Wish I could – feel so very strongly about this! And if you end up in the pokey: we’ll cheer!!!!!!

      • What! no cake Eha? I didn’t end up in the clink but I had a wonderful day, what a great thing they…..we……are doing out there. I will put pics and wrods if I can string them together on my blog. Hey, and thanks for the support guys,

        • ah there you are, i was wondering.. make sure to drop a link to your discussion about the day into the comments next time you pop in so that we can spread the word! c

  24. How exciting to see the bees looking so lively – and the grape vine leafing after all. There is a lot of life going on at the farmy right now, and it’s great to see.

  25. Never mind about that clown Putin – that Queen should be named ‘Catherine the Great’ methinks 😀 !! So, so happy to see some of your vines coming to life – tell the buds to pass the message along for a wee bit more activity!!

  26. Sunny smiles today – the vines were just sleeping (how I envy your open windows instead of AC – all the summer sounds)
    Really nice the way you are letting the bees settle in gently. Less stress is good for all.
    Yea for spring ( as we enjoy the last cool front – it feels like fall – but bright and green. Just terrific)

  27. It seems your grapevines and my baby fig tree march to the same drummer, as I’ve at last seen signs of root-sprout on the former after seeing only death on last year’s little branches. Sigh. I am so glad it seems both of us will be rewarded for our patience 🙂 So far “my” bees are seemingly still in action, having spotted the tiny blooms they love on my little holly, so perhaps we’ll also both be blessed with lots of buzzing business this year as well. Here’s hoping!!!

  28. Whoah. I always marvel at your boundless energy, C. We looked into keeping bees, but it’s a LOT of work. Many beekeepers in our small community already, and I plant loads of flowers for them to wander to and from.

  29. Everything about this post makes me happy! I am very hopeful about your bees. Whenever bees die, there is a sinking in my stomach…

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