Here is an interesting observation that I made today at the bee yard. I have a package that was started about 5 weeks ago. The mother queen is doing well laying eggs and I have seen no apparent problems with the hive. I do weekly inspections to see how things are coming along and check for queen cells. I have found none in this hive, but as we, all know they can be missed from time to time.
Today while going through the hive I heard a virgin queen. She was quite loudÂ…enough so that I thought I may have lost a queen, or they had swarmed. Going through I found her in a very aggressive ball of bees. Obliviously they were Â“ballingÂ” her, I picked up the ball at which point she tore free and flew away. I wanted to keep her, afraid that I may not have a queen in the hive.
Going back through the hive, I found the queen! (She is marked) Going on her marry way, laying eggs as she went as if nothing in the world was out of the ordinary. Then to my surprise, I heard the virgin again. Yep, there she was! Done flew back into the entrance and once again she had a pile of bees on her. She did tare lose again flying out the open top of the hive. It did not take long before she was back, being balled again. At this point, I left here alone letting the bees do what they wanted with her. I finished the inspection and found no open queen cells.
So did this virgin queen come from this box? If she did it would have been from a supersedure cell. Like I said I did not find any cells last week or the week before, nor did I find any open cells today. I know they can be missed but three time in a row. Moreover, I was really looking today for even the smallest open queen cell. None of the hives around this one had any cells during the same three-week period, but there is one hive across the yard that is raising their own queen, but I found no open cells in that hive, they were all closed.
All in all it was very interesting. I had never seen a queen being balled, and the entire hive seamed upset about the virgin queen, everyone except the mother queen. I found several small Â“ballsÂ” of bees that had no queen in the ball, but look to be biting at each other, and trying to sting one another. Most of these smaller balls only consisted of about 4 to 6 bees.
I think, but it's hard to say for sure, that I've seen two kinds of balling. The ones where the bees are just mobbing the queen to get to her and get some pheromones and the ones where the bees are attacking her. They don't seem to be the same thing.
From your description it sounds like the latter where they are attacking. My guess is she's a virgin from the hive next door who flew out to get oriented or to mate and flew back in the wrong hive and apparently can't figure out where she went wrong.
Well, the queenless hive is about 60ft away. this hive is srounded by queen-right hives.
>Well, the queenless hive is about 60ft away. this hive is srounded by queen-right hives.
But one of your queenright hives may have decided to supercede.