Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?
Checked a hive this morning to put on a super. No eggs, just a couple older open larvae. I check every frame to be sure, see no queen and no queen cells. Great. My second failing hive this month.
I call my queen breeder and he has one left, so I drive the three hours there and back. I lay the closed queen cage on top of the bars a la Michael Palmer. I hear her squeak and the bees cluster on the cage, biting it, so I brush all the bees off and put the cage back in the small container with her attendants. Time to find the queen.
I find the queen and manage to slip her in a used queen cage I had with me and place her in my tool box.
The plastic cage with the new queen has no way of attaching it to a frame, so I take her to my car to loop some string through the bars. I remove my veil and gloves and take a close look. She's not moving. I open the cage and dump her into my hand. Other than twiching legs, she's on her back, motionless--obviously dying. She can't even stand.
Thank heavens I didn't pinch the other queen. I go back to the hive and release the old queen back into the hive. She was in the cage less than five minutes. She slips down between the bars, but I'm getting a funny feeling, so I pull out a couple frames to check on her. She's not on either frame. I set them aside and look at the bottom of the hive. They're balling her!!!! She was only out of the hive a few minutes--what the heck? I grab that ball and start pulling bees off her. Tough old broad is surviving it. After dropping her in the dirt and leaves a couple times, I manage to get her back in her cage alone.
She's still vigorous so I keep her in the cage and hook it between two frames and close up the hive. Now I have a queen who's not laying (despite a flow) safe in a cage back in her hive, and a $25 queen who is in my kitchen, dying.
Could the new queen have been stung to death with 60 seconds of balling inside a plastic cage?
And why did they ball their own old queen?
I need someone to tell me what to do now, becaue I'm flummoxed.
Last edited by dehavik; 06-30-2012 at 06:52 PM.
If I'm neither sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, nor melancholy, does that mean I'm out of humour?