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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Swan River, MB
    Posts
    23

    Exclamation Frozen Queen -- Came back to life??

    A couple of days ago I stocked an observation hive (single deep frame OBH) with the bees & queen from a very weak colony. For reasons I don't have time to go into now, I was forced to use an introduction cage to release the queen (even though she was from the same colony) into the OBH. Unfortunately, the weather became quite cold (< -4 degrees Celsius -- the observation hive is installed in an unheated building), and the cluster moved away from the queen cage, most of the cluster being on the other side of the comb (the queen was at the lower right corner of the installed frame). I went and looked while it was still frosty out and the queen looked frozen and dead, with 4-6 frozen-looking workers on the introduction cage. The nearest part of the cluster looked to be about 5-6 inches away.

    But you'll never guess what happened -- later I went back, after it had warmed up and the cluster had broke, and the queen was released and walking around!! Can somebody fill me in on what's happening?

    Jeff

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
    Posts
    1,514

    Default

    Anytime in the winter that it is sunny and breaks the freezing mark, there are lots of bees flying and many of those fall into the snow and die. Well, maybe not DIE, but they are atleast asleep for a while before they truly die. Within several hours of them falling to the snow and freezing, they can be warmed up and resuscitated.

    Perhaps this is the same situation, just with the queen....

    Rick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    South San Ysidro, NM
    Posts
    503

    Default

    It is somewhat similar to torpor. They partly rely on the temperature of their surroundings to metabolize. When it gets too cold they cannot move their muscles much but they are still alive. Sometimes you can see their abdomens pulsing slightly when they are "dead". Not sure how long bees can survive in this state. You can put cockroaches in the freezer for many hours and have them revive - but that is a whole other creepy story...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    where is MB so I can properly report this miracle?

    I would suspect if the queen was unattended long enough that you may have an excellent drone layer in your observation hive. You will know absolutely in a very short time when cells begin to be capped.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    62

    Default

    And then there was that time in in a certain January many moons ago that I took a worker I found laying in front of one of my father's hives to school in an Isodets box for first grade show and tell. . .
    Lawrence Underwood / Mobile, Alabama http://mollysueshoney.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
    Posts
    1,514

    Default

    where is MB so I can properly report this miracle?
    The bees didn't form a cluster in the shape of St. Ambrose, did they???

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    UP michigan
    Posts
    214

    Default

    I had a simular experience tonight. I received some packages today and went out to hive them, it is about 48f out with some rain and wind. I put them in the house for a while to make sure everything looked alright. Two of my sons came home from school and we grabed 4 of the packages and headed out to the back yard to hive them. The first one seemed slugish, the next two really slugish, and by the time we got to the 4th and opened up the package to look at the queen, I said to the boys she's dead and brought the package back in the house. Left the queen cage out of the package and was looking at her at the kitchen table, when all of a sundun she started to move, with in a few minutes she was moving around like normal. The workers in the package did about the same thing, all fell to the bottom and then once they warmed back up are doing fine. I went back out to check on the packages we just instaled and they are just laying in there dead looking, most on the bottom board yet, with some activity. Ive been keeping bees for 28 years and that is the first time I've ever seen that, but maybe the wind chilled them, got me a bit worried, hopefully they'll warm up enough to get around the queen to keep her going. I have the rest of the packages still in the house. I'll take the truck this time and keep the heator going, grab the packages while warm, dump them in and see what happens. One thing that may have something to do with it is the syrup cans were empty, wonder if they were just week and lacking in energy to produce heat.

    Camp
    As wonderful as this life is, there are days I really look forward to the next. :)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,550

    Default

    We sold someone a queen last summer, on a particularly hot day. We warned them about not putting her in the sun or on the dash during the 30 minute drive home, but when they got home they called and said she had died before they got her home. We were baffled. She was fine when she left here. They swore they hadn't left her in the sun. We were prepared to supply another queen but they called again and said she had came back to life. Turns out they had put her cage in line with the air conditioning vent and she had "frozen". She recovered just fine and is still going strong.
    Sheri

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    UP michigan
    Posts
    214

    Default

    after seeing what happened here tonight I believe the ac could do that. The more I get thinking about it most of the time I put them in the hive so fast they don't have time to cool, but tonight it took longer being the boys were with and they wanted to see every last detail and I took my time to they could see it all. I wonder how many times this might happen to packages once there in but we never knew.

    Camp
    As wonderful as this life is, there are days I really look forward to the next. :)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    UP michigan
    Posts
    214

    Default

    This time I pulled the truck up and took the packages out one at a time, and dumped them in the hive while still warm, worked much better. Bee's had that nice humm after I closed them up. Still proves there is still a lot to learn with what ever you do in life.

    Camp
    As wonderful as this life is, there are days I really look forward to the next. :)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    UP michigan
    Posts
    214

    Default update

    Checked the hives this morning and the packages I instaled last night are doing fine, the 4 that got to cold were still on the bottom board, with a few that were normal around the queen cages. I put a tarp over the hives and placed a space heater under the tarp to try to warm things up. Took about 6 hours but their doing great, they all came back to life and are up on the frames doing what newly instaled packages are supose to be doing.

    Camp
    As wonderful as this life is, there are days I really look forward to the next. :)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Swan River, MB
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Very interesting, Camp. I'm still interested to see if my queen has been sterilized by the chilling, though.

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