I had a 5 frame nuc going, for about three weeks. Since it was getting too full, I decided to switch them to a full deep super by moving all five frames and adding 5 more of foundation. I could not see the new marked queen that I introduced in the nuc 3 weeks ago, but I saw plenty of eggs and brood. In the last of those 5 frames I was moving though, I noticed a clump of bees about 2 in in diameter piling furiously on each other like if they were trying to dig into the comb!!!
To no avail I tried to move them out of the way to see what they where covering up. They kept on coming up to replace the few I was displacing. Could they have been attacking their own queen after 3 weeks of good reign...?
The weather has been very bad since then (2 days ago). But as soon as I get a sun break I will go back and look for the queen, eggs, or supercedure cells to figure out what happened.
What do you think?
Sounds like you got it all right. I don't know why they would be balling up on her at this time, but it sounds like a description of it. I don't know what would have set it off. You can wait a few days and look for the queen or queen cells in a few days and you'll know if they killed her and are raising another or not.
I went in today again, and was happy to see the marked queen safe and sound, so I guess they did not kill her during the balling episode. I also saw more fresh eggs, so everthing seems good with this nuc.
Maybe they were just glad to see her.
Yep, the bees were balling the queen. The bees ball a queen when she emits a certian odor when she's under distress. Researchers in Israel have reported the details.
Young queens are easily distressed. Probably, when you disturbed the nuc that's what happened. It's best to leave very young queens and their hives alone for a few weeks before any very invasive inspections are performed.
Some selections of queen bees are more easily distressed than others, even when they are mature. Moving these kinds of hives often results in their deaths and supercedure.
i've sometime seen what i guess are nurse bees kind of panicking and running and falling all over themselves,i wondered if it was an over reaction to the smoke and confusion.