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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Morgan, Utah, USA
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    253

    Default 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 05:52 PM.
    If I'm neither sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, nor melancholy, does that mean I'm out of humour?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    BRUNSWICK,NY
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    If you have another hive I'd take out a frame of young brood and eggs. If she's failing they can get a start on making a replacement. My two cents

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,659

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    It sounds like you had a JZ-BZ cage. I don't think they are as protective as the three-hole cages or California Mini Cages.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Morgan, Utah, USA
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    253

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    Yes, It's a JZ-BZ. The new queen was "killed" in less than a minute inside the cage, while the old queen was balled for 2-3 minutes without a cage and survived. Odd. Is it possible there was something wrong with the new queen already? I didn't check her vigor before putting her cage on top of the frames. She's still alive, still on her back, with just her feet twitching, an hour after she was balled.
    If I'm neither sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, nor melancholy, does that mean I'm out of humour?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    I heard somewhere that:
    On occasion, the hive may ball a queen to protect her at times.

    Where or when...i can't remember. May be that was what they were doing??
    9/11/01 NEVER Forget! 343

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,659

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    Quote Originally Posted by dehavik View Post
    Yes, It's a JZ-BZ. The new queen was "killed" in less than a minute inside the cage, while the old queen was balled for 2-3 minutes without a cage and survived. Odd. Is it possible there was something wrong with the new queen already? I didn't check her vigor before putting her cage on top of the frames. She's still alive, still on her back, with just her feet twitching, an hour after she was balled.
    If I'm following the timeline correctly, you placed the new queen on top of the hive that had a queen that wasn't laying. I suspect that there was more wrong with the introduction than with the newly purchased queen. imo
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    I'm confused.... You said...
    "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."

    Then said..."Thank heavens I didn't pinch the other queen. I go back to the hive and release the old queen back into the hive."

    So I guess my real question is did you just want to replace the queen because you saw no eggs?
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,699

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    When you removed the old girl and then re introduced her they thought her an enemy because they already have one. They are quite fast in killing first, no questions later. A queen removed without being on a frame with other bees is seen as an intruder. She is only allowed on escape (to be mated) and then return. Anything else results in sudden death.
    If you did not already, re introducer her in the morning. Check the hive for emergency cells which will be just starting and cut them out.
    With a few older larva and no eggs, it is entirely possible she is a new queen either just mated or a virgin or she is failing or forgive me please...you need glasses to see eggs...hey I have been there. Thought there were no eggs, early in the evening before sundown saw no egggs, could not find queen. Went back next day, wow where did all the eggs come from.

    Sorry to hear about your expensive loss. Think of it this way....a good lesson in knowing you are forsure queenless...priceless

    What is that saying..."we are taught lessons in life...had to google it..
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” – Vernon Law

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,729

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    That is why some queen breeders insist that you only place a new caged queen in a 24 hour queenless hive. I might have tested for a queen, laying or not, by adding a frame of eggs and then checking a few days later to see how they reacted.

    Ahhh, it's only time and money, imagine if you did this to 1000 hives....

    Crazy Roland

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,699

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    have you done it to a 100o hives Crazy R?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,401

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    It is true that attempting to introduce a new queen to a hive that has a queen (queen cell(s), a virgin queen, laying workers, a poor queen, or anything the bees may, somehow think of as their queen) is rarely, if ever, going to be successful.

    Successfully introducing a replacement queen seems to become more and more complicated as time goes on. Several recently introduced strains seem quite reluctant to accept new queens, especially if the new queens are, themselves, a different strain.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,729

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    Honeyshack asked:

    have you done it to a 100o hives Crazy R?

    No, but I can imagine it happening. I am always very leary of doing something new or dangerous to a large percentage of our hives.

    That said, we did introduce 60 Strachen NWC, and had all accepted, with 58/60 laying after 2 weeks. We followed their instructions to the letter.

    Crazy Roland

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Essex NY
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    Bummer that you lost a new queen, I know how you feel. Using a wire pus in cage has given me the best results when introducing a new queen. I come back to the the hived in three or four days and see how the bees are responding to the new queen. If the bees are calm, not biting/sting at the cage and not roaring when I open the hive, I slowly lift the cage and observe the both bees and queens behavior. Little extra work but has been the most successful method I've tried. PS good points mad honeyshack.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Morgan, Utah, USA
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    Seymore, I have never had a problem spotting eggs and spotting the queen, and I saw none that morning and none that afternoon, so I assumed the hive was queenless. There's a nectar flow, the hive seemed healthy, and the queen is Italian, so I didn't think there would be any reason for her to stop laying--15 fully drawn combs, no eggs.

    BeeCurious, I just placed the new queen on top of the frames for a few seconds to make sure there was no queen. If they were truly queenless, they would have started fanning her scent through the hive. When I saw they were balling her, I knew the old queen was still in there, so I thought she must be failing. I had another hive with a failed queen, but they had not superceded her or build any queen cells, so I just assumed the same thing was happening with this hive. That's an awful lot of assuming, I'm beginning to realize.

    My plan now is to put a frame of eggs into the hive and we'll see if anything comes of it. Best-case scenario is the old queen survived, is accepted and released from her cage, and will start laying eggs again. If not, the bees will have the resources to build another one.
    If I'm neither sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, nor melancholy, does that mean I'm out of humour?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Washtenaw County, MI, USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    Quote Originally Posted by honeyshack View Post
    When you removed the old girl and then re introduced her they thought her an enemy because they already have one. They are quite fast in killing first, no questions later. A queen removed without being on a frame with other bees is seen as an intruder. She is only allowed on escape (to be mated) and then return. Anything else results in sudden death.
    How can there then be such a market for catchers and supplies for queen-marking if doing so is so risky?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    677

    Default Re: Absolute QUEEN TRAIN WRECK...now what?

    Exactly, toomanyhandles...I've been marking queens for years. If honeyshack's statement was correct, then marked queens would never make it.

    My guess to the original post: I have no idea how that would happen. It just does. If I had a dollar for every weird, not in the book thing that has happened to me over the years, I'd have enough dollars to buy a few more of those nice queens!

    Advice if the old queen does not start laying pretty quick:
    1. Take the old queen out. Don't waste her though. Put her in a little jar of alcohol. I've got a jar that has handful of old queens in it. I use it to catch swarms by dipping a cotton ball in it and rubbing it around an empty nuc box or two that I place in the woods nearby hives. I started with 1 queen for a similar reason as you.
    2. Leave that hive queenless for 24 hours and if the new queen is still alive, give her a shot again. Obviously, if she's still just twitching, then go to step 3.
    3. As someone else said, take a frame of eggs/young larvae from another hive and place in there. They'll start making a new queen pretty dang fast, especially if there is a flow on.

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