Two weeks ago a hive of more than 100,000 bees that made the 5NEWS Fort Smith studio their home for the past two was transferred to a new home.
During the operation, the team of beekeepers managed to save the queen, fins of honeycomb, and give a new home to about 30,000 of the worker bees. The team of bee keepers found particular interest in this hives queen and saw potential in the lineage she could create.
“There is something about that queen in her genetics that has allowed her to live through two winters,” Doug Lively, beekeeper.
The colony was taken to a plot of land in Fort Smith and is protected from the elements in their new bee box.
Pieces of the original hive have been set into frames. These contain larvae and eggs that will give birth to new worker bees when it’s time to start gathering pollen once again.
The queen bee will eventually be removed and placed in a separate container to lay the eggs of new queen bees that will share in their mother’s strong genetic makeup.
“Then they will chew themselves out of the cocoon and you’ll have a virgin queen and then she will go out into the air and mate with the drones which are the boys,” Lively said.
Each queen will eventually have a colony of her own that will help pollinate food crops, a vital process in agriculture.
“If the honey bee is lost then we will lose a third of our food,” he said.
Bee populations have been struggling in recent years so the work that beekeepers are doing is important not only for the survival of these colonies but also for a sustainable food source for humans.
Queen bees typically live 2 to 5 years while worker bees last only 45 days, literally working themselves to death.