2010-02-02 The queen is dead. Long live the queen?

Metropolis was a worry, I thought about the lack of capped brood that I'd found, and decided that Metropolis needed re-queening.

The queen was only a year old, and had seemed strong and productive, but after harvest there had been a big drop in brood, so I ordered a couple of queens, including one for Baghdad.

They arrived on my desk at work the next day.
Queens come from Queensland, it seems. I tried the guy I got them from last time, but he didn't answer the phone (due to the floods? not sure), so Bob from Bobs Bees recommended another supplier.

They arrived the day before cyclone Yasi hit North Queensland.
Different cages this time, plastic instead of timber.
A couple of the escorts had died in each in transit, but the queens seemed OK.

It was a fine day, I opened up the hive for a good close look, after getting home from work.
Go through the hive thoroughly, kill the queen, put in the new one.

Propolis under the hive mat
Top box was starting to fill up again, slowly.
They had cleaned up the 'stickies', the frames I'd harvested that still had some honey and lots of sliced up and smashed comb.
Clean comb. Amazing how they tidy it up.
One of the outside frames, top box, very white.

middle box, also tidied up, some honey.
One of the older frames in the middle box, fairly empty, but you can see how the wax is darker from when it was used in the brood box, from layers of coccoons and wax.

One of the frames of honey that I left last time, still full-ish

All the pix from here on are from the brood chamber.
Quite a few bees, but not as many as before, I think.
Close up of one of the combs.
Some honey in the corners, and nectar.
Pollen bottom left. (???!)
This is the only frame in the whole thing (as well as the other side) that has any capped brood at all.
This is bad, pretty sure.

Typical frame.
Lots of pollen, bottom left?

This is the best shot I have of the brood, and it made me look back at the other photos of the 'pollen'.
Those grubs at top right, are they discoloured, is it just the light?
Is it pollen in those other photos, or is that diseased brood?
Have I got AFB in the hive?
I look back at the photos of what I thought was pollen, and wonder whether this whole hive is doomed?
If I'd thought about this when I had the box open, I should have stuck a match stick in one of these cells, to see if it was full of gooey diseased brood.....but I'll have to wait to do this, now.
I've only ever seen pictures of AFB.
They say it smeels bad, I can't remember any foul smell in there.
I've sent a sample of my honey from this hive to the DPI, who will tell me if I have AFB in there.
Hopefully I'm just being paranoid.....?
I wish I knew more about this beekeeping thing.
So anyway, I went through the brood box carefully twice, and couldn't find a queen.
I put the little queen cage in, hopefully they have eaten their way through the plug by now, and the queen is happily laying eggs in a disease-free hive....?
to be continued.....

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