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Thread: queen fell

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Skagit, WA, USA
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    Default queen fell

    I know, there are 28,000 threads on this, but....

    While doing a frame by frame inspection yesterday, after putting the hive back together, I looked down to see the queen between my feet! She had fallen/dropped off a frame I had removed to check others. Strange, both hives' queens were on an outermost frame buts that's another post....

    Picked her up to drop back inside. As a newbie, I had been messing around too long, and there were so many bees bearding the entrance, I was hesitant to just set her down there. Called the missus over to hold her while I opened the hive. When she opened her hands, the queen didn't fall in right away. As she shook her hand over the frames we saw a bee flutter awkwardly away. Didn't see the queen on the frame tops, if she dropped inside, she went right between frames.

    Now what? I didn't want to get right back in to disturb them further, besides, too soon to do an egg check. Do I order a replacement or let them raise a new queen if she's gone missing? Normally, I would think let them raise their own, but our only flow left is a month of blackberries, and I'm concerned raising, mating flight, etc., will take so long the hive will miss the last flow before winter...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Olympia, Washington, USA
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    20

    Default Re: queen fell

    I'm going to be really interested in what responses you get about this. I posted a similar question Saturday night and have yet to get a single response. I am especially interested in how many experienced types let the hive produce a replacement queen.
    Jim in Olympia, Washington

  3. #3
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    May 2012
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    Louisville, Kentucky, USA
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    Default Re: queen fell

    I am a newbie as well, but I would wait at least 3-5 days or so and look diligently for eggs and very small larvae, that would mean that she is there, alive and well. Let's hope she did go in, between the frames and she sent the "scent" out to get some workers in action to surround her so that she can get back to work. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: queen fell

    There are few situations in beekeeping where doing nothing makes it worse.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
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    Jan 2009
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    Washington, AR, USA
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    53

    Default Re: queen fell

    If I think (or know) I have killed, injured, or lost a queen during inspection then I will look for some eggs and young larvae on new comb and knock the lower wall of the cell out with my hive tool. The bees have built queen cells there every single time that I did not find eggs and larvae the following weeks inspection. On two occasions they even pulled queen cells there even when there ended up being a good laying queen in the hive. Bonus! Once that frame went to a hopelessly queenless hive and the other time I used the frame to start a nuc.

  6. #6
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    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    2,480

    Default Re: queen fell

    Chances are she won't go far and come back. There are however no guarantees of anything in beekeeping. I would give it a week or so and go back in and look for eggs, larvae or queen cells.

    I always carry a queen clip in my front pocket in easy reach for just such occasions. Much easier to release her deep between two frames.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  7. #7
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    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default Re: queen fell

    I once dropped a queen during a hive inspection and was looking around for her but did not find her, even though she was marked. I went out the next morning, and saw what looked like a small swarm on the ground. I thought "Aha!" and sure enough, she was there, surrounded by bees. I gently picked her up and placed her back in the hive and there were no problems or complications. She went to work and that hive is one of my many strong hives now.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2012
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    Skagit, WA, USA
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    Default Re: queen fell

    Thanks all. Patience is certainly a challenge. Just don't want to go in and look at the eggs she laid before, and judge anything based on that. I'm not sure how long it takes them to start queen cells that I can recognize early.

  9. #9
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    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
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    959

    Default Re: queen fell

    I pulled a frame the other day checking the brood. After putting it back I notice the queen had fallen into an empty nuc I use to put frames on during inspection.
    I slowly placed my hand into the nuc and she climbed up my glove. I even had a chance to really check her out before I put her back. During over 49 years this is the first Un Caged queens I have had in my hand. This was just the other day and she is my best queen out of all my hives.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Billerica, MA
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    298

    Default Re: queen fell

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Franklin View Post
    I pulled a frame the other day checking the brood. .
    While checking for brood patterns and comb progress Saturday I pulled a frame that had a couple inches of comb built out at 90 degrees towards the bottom. I took my hive tool and sliced it off, and in one fell swoop cut the queen nearly in half . As the beekeeper I got a replacement queen from an hour later said, "There are no mistakes in beekeeping, only learning experiences."

    I'll check Wednesday for a New yellow spotted queen roaming the frames. It's been THE year of learning experiences for me.

  11. #11
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    Apr 2012
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    Default Re: queen fell

    UPDATE:
    Well, about a week later, and....

    Couldn't find the queen or any emergency queen cells. No eggs, but then I'm not good at spotting them. There was a VERY small number of uncapped larvae, a lot less than there had been when she was last laying, but then she had slowed some. I didn't see multiple larvae. I don't know how quickly a laying worker appears anyway. Otherwise, it seems like a strong hive, full of bees, capped syrup, some uncapped nectar, and, finally, frames of pollen where before none of the pollen seemed to be getting stored.

    Do have swarm cells on the other hive, but... they're all on a frame of drone foundation I plan on freezing. Not about to put an entire drone frame full of mites just for the queen cells.
    I don't keep bees, I tend bees. Does this make me a beet?
    Sea level, Puget Sound, USDA 7a-7b

  12. #12
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    Jan 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN USA
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    Default Re: queen fell

    Are the swarm cells capped? You could cut out a queen cell or two from that drone comb and tack it onto one of the combs in your queenless hive.

  13. #13
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    Apr 2012
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    Skagit, WA, USA
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    Default Re: queen fell

    Nope.

    Well, one was, but I damaged it removing the frame. Yes, it's that kind of year! The other eight were in varying stages of completion, from small cups to perfect peanuts, but as yet uncapped.

    Wait another week (there was not even a palm size area of uncapped larvae) or replace her?

    As in a diferrent thread, there's bees under the screened bottom board, but without tearing down three boxes, I can't see if she's under there. The lack of emergency cells has me wondering if the still smell her....?
    I don't keep bees, I tend bees. Does this make me a beet?
    Sea level, Puget Sound, USDA 7a-7b

  14. #14
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    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
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    207

    Default Re: queen fell

    I killed my queen by accident on the 24th of june. Whoops!
    You will see queen cells as long as there are viable eggs for the workers to use.(3days old or less) Cells should start to show by 2 days, if not by 4-5 then you need more eggs in there.
    Normally they know when the queen isn't there in enough time to act.
    My queen cell in the new hive did not look like a normal queen cell. It was like they did more burrowing than building. The cell did not hang down or out like you would normally expect. Also at first I didn't see it because I didn't sweep off all the bees. (one layer of bees on the hive will block your view)
    Look at Solomon Parkers (he responded to this post earlier) website for the Queen calender. It is helpful because it has info about the stages etc.. You put in your graft or split date and voila.

  15. #15
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    Apr 2009
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    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    Default Re: queen fell

    Quote Originally Posted by Keefis View Post
    I killed my queen by accident on the 24th of june. Whoops!
    Yup marking one the other day and got some on her face. So had to smush her. They would have killed her anyway.

    As for dropping we dropped one and she flew under the pallet. We search and searched and then she flew to my sons suit and we got her back. She will make her way back to the entrance on her own typically. But, look for her again in a few days.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: queen fell

    Well, she's not under the hive...

    I guess I should put in a frame of eggs/lavae from my second hive.(?) I'm not overly fond of my second queen, and wasn't going to go raise her daughters, but this would be a good test for queenlessness, correct?

    I did a quick pull of a couple of frames that are in the brood positions, and still no young larvae. It's just really odd to me that she was laying minutes before her disappearence and yet there are no visible queen cells after 8 days.

    I want to believe she's still in there due to no emergency cells.

    Oh well. Maybe between the frozen drones and a skipped brood cycle the mites got knocked down a bit.
    I don't keep bees, I tend bees. Does this make me a beet?
    Sea level, Puget Sound, USDA 7a-7b

  17. #17
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    Skagit, WA, USA
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    Default Re: queen fell

    Stranger and stranger.....

    Put two frames of uncapped larvae from the hive that had made swarm cells into the queenless hive today on day 10, mostly as a test to see if the queen that fell was still in there. I've been thinking she had to be in there as they just weren't making emergency cells, but at 3 days and 7 days, there was still no sign she's laying.

    After putting it all back together, imagine my surprise when there was the queen ON THE GROUND!!!! (again!)

    So, she WAS in the hive, but not laying, and yet they didn't try to replace her even though she had to be laying minutes before she went missing the first time. I thought they would replace her if she's injured or not laying....

    Curious to see if they try to replace her now that they have some young larvae...

  18. #18
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: queen fell

    Keep adding brood, it can only help.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  19. #19
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    Apr 2012
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    Skagit, WA, USA
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    Default Re: queen fell

    Thanks for the stories and advice.

    i'm beginning to wonder about my inspection technique. I inspect the frames over the hive, only moved a couple of steps over twice to get a brighter view looking for eggs, and set upper box on top of upside down telescoping cover as I was trained.

    Funny, both times queen was by herself on ground, no mini cluster bearding or surrounding her. Last night just scooped her up and put her by heavily bearded entrance, lost sight of her, and can only hope they let her right in...she sure looked skinny, though.
    I don't keep bees, I tend bees. Does this make me a beet?
    Sea level, Puget Sound, USDA 7a-7b

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