Old Titus knew that tension was mounting in the colony.

He had watched carefully as the queen and her retinue of worker bees prowled around the breeding cells. She was not examining the ordinary capped cells, each of which contained the larva of a putative female worker, or the slightly larger cells which housed developing male bees – drones.

Titus had brought his grandson Jacob to the hives and had opened this one. Jacob should know the ropes if he was to take over the business of producing honey.

He pointed out to the boy how the queen’s attention was devoted to those cells with conical caps sparsely dotted around the hanging combs. One of these, her instinct told her, contained her successor as colony queen, and the same instinct told her that it was time to find a new home.

Titus knew she had been a successful queen and had prepared the conditions for propagating her species by laying eggs in the breeding combs at an accelerated rate when the warmth of spring had fully awakened the colony and the female workers had been able to bring home nectar and pollen at a satisfactory rate.

That was when, Jacob learned, the in-house builders had made cells fit for developing new queens. She had placed an egg in each of those cells. When they were sure each egg had begun to develop, her workers had filled it with special food known as ‘queen jelly’ and had capped each with wax.

‘Any day now,’ said Titus,’ she’ll take half the colony and they’ll swarm out.’

Jacob looked staggered, ‘But Grandpa, that’ll mean you’ll lose half of the hive.’

Titus chuckled, ‘They’ll probably not leave these orchards and if they do I’ll be getting a call from the Police or Council and I’ll collect them. I’ve another hive ready and waiting for them.’

He grinned, ‘And one of them queen cells’ll produce a new queen, so we’ll start all over again. 4% more profit for hardly any work. Just letting the critters get on with it.’

Jacob smiled through his gauze facemask. ‘Wow!’

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

A very interesting and informative story, Allan. I felt a bit like Jacob by the end. Nicely done.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
1 year ago

I really learned a lot about bees after reading your story, Allan, so interesting. Titus certainly knew his stuff! Great story.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

A very nicely written story about the fascinating bee world, Allen. I have to confess that I thought it was the new, young queen who left the hive with part of its members. With Titus’ loving and beautiful information to his grandson, I now know how it’s done. Thank you!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Hello, Allan. After reading your story, I admit that I was amazed on all the information I learned about bees. Very beautiful and informative. It is a fun and nice read. Well done.

1 year ago

Hello Allan – I really enjoyed this story from a master storyteller and a former beekeeper. I learned so much about bees. Like Jacob, all I can say is “Wow!”

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