Altea, December 2014. After transferring the VSH-selected Single Drone Inseminated queens to Altea in Spain, we started to raise daughter queens from them.
However, several challenges had to be overcome during the first couple of weeks. After an electricity outage (UPS was already ordered but still on its way…) we lost half of the queen-cells in the incubator.
After re-drafting and creating the first set of colonies we realized we had another unexpected enemy: very small, but very aggressive ants (!). These small ants attacked the small colonies – they attacked the young bees, killed them, and used them for food. In some cases we could still locate a few of the older bees with the queen, escaped from the hive. So we installed specially designed ant-stops (see photo), which are filled with oil to prevent the ants reaching the small hives.
Fortunately the weather was good and we could continue breeding young queens. We now have 25 queens with brood. These colonies will be used to supply drones in the 2015 VSH breeding program.