This morning I found the marked queen of my strongest hive kicked to the curb, or at least the landing board. She is still alive, appears to be dying from the rain and cold. So what does this mean?
I'm thinking that there is either a newly mated or virgin queen in there now. What do you think?
The hive started kicking their drones out kind of early, but I had noticed an increased number of drones lately. Now it appears they are banning these drones as well. Last week there were a good number of very large drones going in and out as they wished, but now the ground around the hive is scattered with their dead bodies.
When last I took a look inside, everything was going great, lots of eggs, lots of brood, lots of honey stores. 2 deeps of brood and honey and 2 mediums of honey. That was at the beginning of Oct and they were very protective of this queen then. I have been leaving them alone since then, just offering syrup when they appeared to want it.
I switched some frames of brood between hives back then. The hive I switched with had an unmarked queen and I never did find her. But I looked at the frames I switched really good and tried to brush most of the bees off into their original hive befor switching. Surly if somehow I missed the unmarked queen one of them would have been killed back then not now. The other hive is going strong and does not appear to have been queenless.
I cought the marked queen in a clip style queen catcher to make sure she was not hurt while I was adjusting things in her hive. When I was all done she and her attendants didnt want to come out of the clip so I just propped it open and put the whole thing in the hive.
That was a little over a month ago.
This hive started as a package and she is the original queen that came with them. I understand that its not unusual for a hive to requeen but didnt they choose a strange time?
And will a queen they have raised themselves, at this time of year, be of a quality I want to keep? Should I be looking for a queen to order now or just wait till Spring and see how things go?
I'm thinking maybe this could be a good thing, as they will now have a young vigorous queen to see them thru winter and start the spring off strong.
Am I clueless or have I read the situation right? Do I need to DO anything at this time?
You could of had a 2 queen (mother& daughter) colony, and they kept the one they wanted.It is late in the season and I don!t know the weather in your area,but if the temp. were to get in the sixties I would probably take a look just to satisfy my curiosity.Keep us posted if you find something.
Its cold, wet and windy right now. Hopefully the rain will let up in a few days.
I was wondering about the mother/daughter tag team thing. That was the only thing I could think of that would result in the queen beeing kicked out while still alive.
But if it is a newly mated queen will my interference in the hive cause her trouble? Do I risk causing them to reject her too?
Probably a natural queen death and they may already have a new laying queen. Sometimes they will overwinter with two queens. My guess is that the bees knew something was wrong with your marked queen and replaced her - too bad she didn't make it through the winter. This is just my best guess - I too would take a look to see what's going on inside the hive. Tomorrow looks like it will be sunny and in the 70's. If your schedule permits it may be a good chance to check things out.
This is my 11 year old sons favorite hive. I knew he would be interested in seeing the queen and nature at work so when he got home from school we went to take a look.
He insisted on scooping her majesty up with a leaf and delivering her to the hive door, she was still alive but moving real slow.
When we checked back on her later she was gone. He thinks the bees took her back inside and fed her chicken soup to make her feel better. I told him it is more likely that the undertakers flew off with her.
He has been reading a book called "Clan Apis" it is a book about bees in comic book type format. It is actually very good and I highly recommend it both for children and adults. Thats where my reference to 'undertaker bees' came from, I find the term very appropriate.
Yeah, if it is clear tomorrow, then a look inside is on my agenda.
Could I have stressed the hive out to much when I went in in Oct? Would that cause something like this?
Thank You for all of your input.
No telling whats up...but personally I never mess with the queen when I am doing things with my hive (s). If you are pulling frames, make sure she isn't on it, but catching the queen can damage her and if the hive senses something is wrong she will get replaced.
OK, I went in and took a look.
Brood box frames were very light. Some were mostly empty cells with honey around the edges and some pollen.
About half the brood frames were capped workers with some open cells of larvae. The larvae were still curved in a C on their side, I would guess maybe 5 days old.
Some capped drone cells, but not excessive. Drones thru out the hive but not an over abundance of them.
I saw no eggs and no queen.
I did however see what looked like a partially dismantled QUEEN CELL. The last time one of my hives raised their own queen they broke down the empty queen cells pretty quick.
So my best guess is that I have a newly hatched virgin queen.
I guess I just need to give her some time and check back for eggs.
I don't know. Should I give them a frame of fresh eggs from another hive just to be safe? That is IF the other hives have many. They are alot smaller than this hive and I do not want to reduce their numbers anymore than I have to. Also their brood is in 6 1/4" frames not 9 1/8"
What to do, what to do.....
Oh, the bees were pretty mild when I was in there too. Not aggressive like I would expect a queenless hive to be. And they settled down and went back to bringing in pollen quickly after I closed them up.
We have had a few cold nights (40's) and some cool days but our cold weather dosent usually settle in for another month or so. Would a virgin queen even have much of a chance to mate decently?