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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    1,388

    Default Wild Guess That my Virgin Queen was Accepted...

    Saw what appeared to be robbing going on at the entrance to one of my hives I placed a virgin queen in four days ago, so I reached down to close the little rotating excluder screen and reduce the entrance size. As I did this, I noticed a much larger, darker bee buzzing around the entrance. Definitely not a worker or a drone. Then it landed And I noticed the longer abdomen of a queen. She even had a few bees following her. Just a wild guess this was probably my virgin queen on an orientation flight. I lifted the lid slightly and let her crawl back in with her little trail of followers.

    After about 15 minutes, the robbing frenzy at the entrance hole stopped and I opened it back up.

    A somewhat rare occurrence, thought I might share it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    366

    Default Re: Wild Guess That my Virgin Queen was Accepted...

    Wow! That must have been so cool to see! I wonder if the robbing would have stopped once the queen had pheromoned the place up anyway. Of course, you wouldn't have wanted to take the chances to find out, but I bet they were robbing because of the lack of queen.

    That's one of those times you'd wish you'd had a camera, I bet!
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: Wild Guess That my Virgin Queen was Accepted...

    Actually, they probably were not robbing, but rather following momma once she re-entered the yard. They do this to help guide her home. We see it quite often... when the returning queens get near the nuc, the workers make a big fuss around the entrance to guide her in.

    This is one of the reasons that I never recommend open feeding while mating queens or during swarm season... when queens are returning from mating flights, they are drawn to the clouds of bees near the feed and are usually balled and killed... one of the largest reasons for losses due to feeding in the hotter months as the bee keepers do not realise that hives may be requeening and they never get a mated queen back because of the mob squads at the feeders.

    Ps, kazzandra, yes it is very cool indeed to watch hundreds of mating nucs start to fuss in sequence as the virgins return as ladies.

    Hope this helps...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Wild Guess That my Virgin Queen was Accepted...

    Very intresting. Definitely looked like robbing with a big bee brawl near the entrance. I assumed it was from the nearby nuc discovering the honey I had stashed in it from the cut-out these bees came from. It only lasted about 30 minutes or so, then I opened the hole back up again. It definitely looked like a queen. I thought it was a wasp at first, trying to sneak in and steal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: Wild Guess That my Virgin Queen was Accepted...

    Dr Russell, is there a safe distance for feeding? I have a friend who will have to feed his nucs(2) and his bigger hives. All need to be fed and he being new I Cannot be sure that it won't lead to robbing.
    There is no greater satisfaction than the satisfaction of a job well done.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: Wild Guess That my Virgin Queen was Accepted...

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    Hope this helps...
    It sure does, learn something new every day. A few weeks ago, we stole frames from our two stronger hives, complete with capped queen cells, and put them into a fresh box. 2 frames from each hive, 1 with capped brood and capped queen cells, another with pollen / honey. They went in a fresh 10 frame box beside the house, it was our first experiment to have bees raise a queen for us.

    Last sunday I was having a coffee on the back deck, and saw a huge amount of activity in front of that one, and thought they looked to be swarming. We've had more than one opportunity to watch swarms leave the hive this summer, and I was a bit disappointed to see what looked like another one starting. But, after 10 minutes, they all seemed to head back inside.

    The timing was about right based on when we put the capped cells into that hive, so, now I'm pretty sure what we saw was the commotion when the new queen was coming back home. Learn something new all the time it seems. How people figured all these things out before the days of 'the net' is beyond me. I've read a fair bit about this subject, keeping bees and how to start rearing ones own queens, but not a single one of them has mentioned this little tidbit.

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