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Bees will kill their queen if they don't like her

A neighborhood bee colony had to be replaced when the hive was destroyed in a storm.

DENVER — For a new bee colony to form, the bees have to accept a new queen to takeover the hive. But if they don't accept her as their queen, the colony will kill her.

That's what neighbors Jim Berger and Melody Duggan were worried about Thursday morning when their queen bee - whom they've affectionately named 'Queen Latifah' - was introduced to the neighborhood beehive. 

A group of neighbors in the University Park neighborhood of Denver used to have a beautiful, big beehive until last summer. 

"In one of those big storms we had in the fall, a big branch came down and just destroyed the hive," Melody Duggan said. "Killed the queen."

Since then, Duggan said, the neighborhood has been missing the bees.

Jim Berger decided, they needed the bees back. His and six other families in the neighborhood got together to purchase a new hive and 10,000 bees to fill it. 

"I’m not some environmentalist," Berger said, "But we do need them. They’ve been destroyed by losing habitat, a thing called mites, and then finally, the worst of all, is pesticides." 

The group of neighbors got their hive and all those bees for around $600. They chose Duggan's backyard to be the keeper of the bees. 

"We are on the bee team. It’s the A-team of the bee team," Duggan said. 

Last week, the "bee team" received their new hive and the 10,000 bees. This week, they had a beekeeper come out to release the queen bee into the hive.

"We purchased all of this from a local bee place called To Bee Or Not To Bee. They sold us the bees plus a queen," Berger said. "The queen is from a different hive so we had to keep her in a cage for about a week so the colony could get used to her scent and her being around."

Thursday was the big release. Neighbors were pleased to report - this colony has accepted their queen. 

"So far," Berger said, "they look very happy."

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