As you know, I have been on tenterhooks waiting for a new queen to be born. I went every morning early to check on the queen cells that the worksters had made. Before I continue, allow me to explain this process of which I am speaking. The backstory: A colleague well into his 80's is giving up beekeeping after more than three decades carrying out this hobby. It is sad, but he says that he doesn't have the strength anymore to lift the boxes and do all the chores. He also had a stroke which left him 'weak' on one side. It is all understandable, but passion for a hobby cannot be forced into a box of logic, if you know what I mean. At any rate a few days ago he called me with the news and asked if I would like to have a frame full of eggs and very small larvae in order to grow at least two new queens. He has a moer (queen) with excellent attributes and are very calm--just what I need for the close proximity of allotment gardens. So then, my queens are both four years old this year, which is unusual here for queens. Usually they live to be two years and then are driven out or killed by the worksters in her hive. I feel like I have been living on borrowed time., so I jumped at the chance and said, "YES, please". So the way this works is you take a hive that only has room for six frames-- one frame with nectar and pollen, some empty frames (foundation or already built-up)...the frame with the eggs and larvae go in-between these. One places the hive and then waits ten days, then you press your ear up against the side of the hive (I am lazy and use a stethoscope) and listen for piping. If one hears the queens piping then you know that at least one is out and you can look into the hive and take action. What is piping? it is a specific sound that is made by the queen outside the cell...it calls out a challenge and the queens still in the cells answer with a more muffled piping sound. You can look it up on YouTube and listen to the sounds. So then I went four mornings in a row and listened and looked, only on the last morning after listening and hearing nothing did I pop the top off and look inside. I heard no piping, but I knew there were queens hatched anyway. How did I know this? There was a lovely queen in the last throws of life on the flying plank in front of the split. To my surprise there was the new queen strolling around (You do not always see her, and you do not go searching). You want to close the hive back up as quickly as you can and leave them with rest for another fourteen or twenty-one days. There were five queen cells open. Before closing it up I had to remove all the bees from the frame with the cells on it...verrrrry carefully. Once clean of bees, I placed it into a waiting 3-framed hive with food, and foundation. The little hive is now empty, so I shake all the bees off two honey frames (from another hive) and close the hive up completely. After a day or so the rest of the queens will emerge, fight it out and there will be a second queen which I will use later to replace the old queens or to let them run their own hives. Below the frame with all the queen cells: There were another two cells on the flip-side of the frame above. The next foto shows the cells--My colleague was holding the frame tilted it so that my Bride could take this foto. Do you see that five of the cells are open? The bescuit met muisjes is what we do here with births. It is a round piece of rusk with a layer of butter and on top of that pink and white (girl) or blue and white (boy) coated anise seeds.