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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    barry co., Michigan
    Posts
    302

    Default can anyone explain what happened?

    I've got a sunkist nuc i overwintered and recently hived in 10 frame equipment from two 5 frame boxes.

    This evening about 5 pm I heard a roar from this hive but only a few bees were flying around outside. Then about 3-4 minutes later the bees started pouring out all at once covering the front and filling the air. I noticed a small pile of bees about 5 feet away and found the queen outside the hive in this group of 25 bees. I picked her up and put her in a spare jzbz cage and set her aside.

    The hive settled down about 10 minutes later and i thouroughly inspected it. There were a lot of recently emerged nurse bees and 2 frames of early larva. THere were absolutely no queen cells and i saw no other queen present.

    I placed the queen back inside the hive and they started fanning and attending so i released her back in

    Has anyone seen this before? I'm concerned they will kick her back out tomorrow evening

    THanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,014

    Question Re: can anyone explain what happened?

    Weird things happen.

    At dusk, two days ago, a colony we hived from an April NUC was swarming (yes, it has done really well). A cantaloupe sized swarm landed in the tree above the hives and things settled down, with some of the bees returning to the hive. I put the swarm in a NUC box. No queen in the NUC box next morning when I split the swarming hive (the queen can be the last bee to leave the hive in a swarm). I looked for and didn't find one queen cell, not one.

    I did see a slender (read small) queen in the swarming hive the next morning. (Ten days ago, the queen in that hive was healthy, fat, and laying like she should). Do I have a virgin queen? Where is the healthy queen who has done so well up to now?

    I read a remark about the bees helping the queen get ready (thinner) to swarm....Anybody read about that?

    Things aren't supposed to be this complicated
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,556

    Default Re: can anyone explain what happened?

    The nurses will stop feeding the queen, she has to eat on her own, and they won't let her lay and make her move around. She goes off laying and the ovaries shrink. She gets skinny so she can fly distance. Sometimes she drops or somehow gets seperated from the main swarm. I've seen also a queen with a few bees on the ground when a swarm issued. She had dropped out to the ground. I grabbed her and set her on combs in a box and the swarm came to the box.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,014

    Thumbs Up Re: can anyone explain what happened?

    Thanks for that explanation Ray, it helps!

    I found this article about the queen bee, it mentions the queen's weight loss in preparation for swarming.
    Last edited by Lburou; 06-14-2012 at 07:34 AM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Charles City, VA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: can anyone explain what happened?

    This could have been a secondary swarm with a virgin queen. We had a guy in my club catch a swarm this year that had 3 queens in it.

    Or they could have just decided to abscond since you said you just moved them to a 10 frame box. That would be a better answer as to why there weren't any queen cells.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    barry co., Michigan
    Posts
    302

    Default Re: can anyone explain what happened?

    quick update - the next day these guys swarmed/absconded into a nuc i requeened about 2 weeks ago. It was quite an impressive sight as the cloud of bees descended on the nuc about 10 feet from where i was working. Even more impressive they crawled in through a robber guard

    I looked today and saw the queen from the absconded hive laying an egg. the queen that was in that nuc is gone. all i can say is bees are crazy sometimes

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