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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Georgia, VT
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    67

    Default Balling the Queen

    This is my second attempt ever to replace a queen. I'm 98% sure there is not a queen in the hive as there are no eggs no brood and no capped brood. I've been through the hive twice looking for signs of a queen to avail. I ordered queens from Beterbee and they arrived today. So how can I tell if they are balling or accepting the queen. I watched for a while and could not really tell if they were bitting at the cage or putting their tounges through the screen. The screened portion of the cage was totaly covered with bees making it difficult to tell what they were doing.

    thanks
    Randy
    Randy<br /><br />\'Cause I not be nobody else!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
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    3,721

    Default

    Are there "attendants" in the cage? I had this experience recently where MANY bees surrounded the cage of the new queen. The hive was queenless for only 20 hours. The bee inspector told me today that the queen apparently had NOT been accepted.

    If I were to do this again, I would NOT remove the "protective" plug from the candy end for 2-3 days after installing the cage. Let the hive/home bees feed her during that time; then remove the plug.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Georgia, VT
    Posts
    67

    Default

    Yes there are attendents in the cage. I believe that the hive has been with out a queen for many days. No eggs no brood and no capped brood. The queens came with out a protective plug just the candy on one end and wood plug on the other. They are doomed if they dont accept her?:mad:

    Randy
    Randy<br /><br />\'Cause I not be nobody else!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
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    Default

    Put some tape on the candy end for 24 hours and "hope" for the best after removing the tape. If the hive has been without a queen for,..."many days" they should accept her.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Valley Springs, Ca.
    Posts
    135

    Question

    Maybe a virgin?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Georgia, VT
    Posts
    67

    Default

    >Put some tape on the candy end for 24 hours and "hope" for the best after removing the tape. If the hive has been without a queen for,..."many days" they should accept her.

    Well it's too dark to place tape on the end of the cage now.

    "Hope for the best". Aint that what I'm always doin' with the bees anyway.

    There could be a virgin queen in there. I have a hard time findin a mated one let alone a virgin

    Guess I'll HOPE for the best, I've got a 12 hour work day tomorrow. Out of the house too early to go into a hive and home to late to go into a hive.

    Thanks for the replies, I thought there might be a more definative(sp) way to judge when there is balling going on.:confused:

    Randy
    Last edited by IBEEME; 05-14-2008 at 09:22 PM. Reason: addition
    Randy<br /><br />\'Cause I not be nobody else!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Windham County, Vermont
    Posts
    246

    Default

    It helps if you remove the attendants which came in the cage with the queen. Their presence antagonizes the bees in the hive you're trying to requeen, making it hard for them to accept her. It's a little tricky to remove the attendants, and not the queen. Some folks use a queen muff, their veil, or do it in their vehicle with windows rolled up. Just a safe place to uncork the cage and have the attendants come out one by one. I remove the cork and have the queen walk into another empty cage,......then just introduce her in that one, by herself.
    Last edited by denny; 05-15-2008 at 08:23 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Dane County, WI.
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    Default

    "I thought there would be a more definitive way to judge when there is balling going on".

    It's called,....................experience............. .............get some,....and fail sometimes in the process!

    Yes, what denny said.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default

    When essential manipulations are waiting - any time is a good time to open the hives. I even use a red LED headlight at night when I have too.

    As far as balling behavior against a queen in her cage - if you hold the cage in one hand and use a small stick to gently push the bees away from the screen and it seems like they'd rather die than let go - most likely they are in balling mode. Accepting behavior, they will easily move when you push them with the stick, but they will quickly return to the screen once the stick is out of their way, but they will let the stick move them without undue resistance.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
    Posts
    1,020

    Default

    I recently made a split - found the queen on a frame, set the frame carefully in the hive body and lifted it onto the new bottom board. Added a queen in cage to the bottom box and moved the top box to a new location. Flash forward three days when I come to release the queen...and the bees covering the screen are biting it and stinging it. Couldn't dislodge them at all. So I set the cage to the side and looked. Sure enough - when I set the frame back the old queen had darted into the bottom box. They don't often move fast but they're obviously capable of it. I moved the queen & cage to the queenless box. A day later I have twenty bees with tongues reaching through the mesh - it actually looked kind of creepy. Moving the bees was easy. I let her out, she promptly began examining cells and testing them. The workers formed a neat half moon around her. I'll check in in four or five days and make sure she's laying.

    Hind sight says I should've put that frame in an empty hive body, done the move and then put it back after making sure she was still on it. The bees seem to be doing ok though, so I guess it wound up ok.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
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    3,721

    Default

    "if you hold the cage in one hand and use a small stick to gently push the bees away from the screen and it seems like they'd rather die than let go - most likely they are in balling mode." -J. Clemens.

    That's exactly the experience I had! The bees would not let go of the cage. I should have realized then what the situation was and left the plug covering the candy intact for a few days more.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    196

    Default

    While I cannot answer the question you posted :- <So how can I tell if they are balling or accepting the queen.>

    I would put in a frame of emerging brood then, if they did not draw queen cells, I would be very reluctant to try to intoduce a queen that I had paid money for.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,774

    Default

    I'd be more convinced you DO have a queen based on their rejection. Just because you don't have eggs doesn't mean you don't have a queen. It just means she's not laying or you're not seeing them. From start to finish it typically takes 24 days for them to get an emergency queen and she starts laying. But it only takes 10 for them to get a virgin queen. Usually by the time you see that there are no eggs, they already have a queen, she just won't be laying for another two to three weeks.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallaci...nobroodnoqueen
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Georgia, VT
    Posts
    67

    Default

    Thanks all forn the responses. I'll try the move em with a stick "trick" tonight when I get home from work. Last week when I opened the hive the roar from them was very noticable when compared to the other 4 hive next to them. Everything I see says there is no queen, maybe there is a virgin in the hive. If they refuse too the extream I'll remove the cage and see what developes in a another week.

    Randy
    Randy<br /><br />\'Cause I not be nobody else!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Boone, NC
    Posts
    39

    Default

    I thought it was normal for "many" bees to surround the queen cage.

  16. #16

    Default

    What do you suppose happened to the original queen?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Georgia, VT
    Posts
    67

    Default

    Yes it is normal for many bees to suround the cage, but what they do when they are there is what I am questioning for identification. It's hard to tell if they are biting at the cage or sticking their tounges through to feed the new queen. The old queen may have expired or I may have killed her when looking through the have at some point.
    Randy<br /><br />\'Cause I not be nobody else!

  18. #18

    Default

    Ordinarily a queen who 'expires' or is crushed during a hive exam is replaced by a supercedure queen. A swarmed queen is usually replaced by a swarm queen. In either case there is a period where the hive appears queenless. This is my point, sort of. Is it possible that there is a new queen present, maybe just beginning to lay? I've had numerous queens killed because I jumped the gun on putting in a replacement.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,774

    Default

    The best course of action when a hive is suspected of being queenless is to give them a frame of eggs and open brood. In a couple of days you will KNOW if they are queenless, as they will start queen cells if they are and won't if they aren't. More than half the time an "apparently queenless" hive has a virgin queen running around in it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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