I have a hive that I was trying to re-queen. I took the old queen out 24 hour prior and placed a new queen in a cage in the hive. I returned in about five days to check and possibly release the queen and shb had taken over the hive. It was a fairly strong hive. I left the queen in the cage and shook all the bees on new drawn comb in a nuc and placed the queen in the cage back in the hive. The nuc is packed w/bees but afraid to place them in a ten frame.
I later returned three days later to check the queen in the cage. Seems they were attending the queen and not balling the cage. I pulled the plug and returned the cage. (Last free release I tried -- I lost the queen.) I returned today -- two days later to remove the empty cage, I noticed a ball of bees about the size of a golf ball @ the bottom of a frame. No bees on other frames were acting like this. After further inspection I found the queen in the ball. She was not in a hurry to scamper off or anything so I plucked her from the ball and caged her again.
Was this small ball of bees balling the queen?
Should I try and introduce her in a cage next time?
I have some #8 wire is that small enough for a cage?
Any other suggestions or did I jump the gun by returning her to the cage?