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  1. #1
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    There are 3 hives in the back yard. Yesterday morning I was walking back in that corner, and I saw some "bees" on the ground in front of the hive. When I went over to take a closer look, what I had seen was a bunch of wasps/hornets picking up dead bees. Then I saw the queen. She was barely walking. It almost looked like she was having tiny seizures. I picked her up, and carried her inside to take a closer look. It was obvious that she was not returning from a mating flight.

    we inspected these hives about 10 days ago. All of them had eggs, and good brood patterns. We did not do a thorough inspection to find the queens.

    Hive 1 - queen in her second year (always has been a poor hive). When we were inspecting the hive last week (probably 10 days ago) we found a queen, which looked to me to be quite young, perhaps virgin. It was not on a frame with eggs, like I would expect to find a queen We saw eggs, and decided to close everything back up for a few weeks.
    Hive 2 - queen in Third year. Swarmed in mid June last year. I got plenty of honey from the hive she left behind (and a strong daughter queen). This year I split it pretty heavily in the early spring. 2/3 of the splits are now strong hives, the third turned into a laying worker, and was eventually shaken out.
    Hive 3 - Walk away split from Hive 2 this spring.

    If you can see the picture, she is definitely a queen, and I would guess an older queen. notice the almost missing wing. My guess is she came from either hive 1 or hive 2, with hive 1 being much more likely.

    Don't the bees normally kill the queen when they supersede her? I had always thought the new queen fought her, or the bees balled her. Has anyone else seen a queen being evicted? I'm pretty surprised I saw her. My guess is an hour earlier or later, and I would have missed it.

    Looks like I'll need to add the photos from home.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Sounds like you had a supercedure, and your new queen was attacked, most likely on her way home from a mating flight. Ive never seen it, but ive definitely seen yellowjackets and paper wasps sitting on the landing board picking off bees, and if the queen was leaving for or returning from a mating flight, it is reasonable to think she might have gotten nabbed on the landing board. Do you know which hive she came from? If she was virgin and heading out for a mating flight that hive may now be queenless and unable to make a new one. I would inspect my hives for eggs.
    Its also possible that you had a late season swarm and the queen had a busted wing and got left behind. If that is the case you should have swarm cells ready to hatch in the hive, but once again no eggs. Otherwise I can think of no reason why your queen would be within a wasp's reach.
    If it was a virgin queen, definitely add a new queen or a frame with eggs or new brood. If you find swarm cells, dont worry about it. Your hive is a step ahead of you!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Salt Lake County, Utah
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    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Sorry the pictures didn't work with the first post. I don't think this is a queen returning. She looks older than that.




  4. #4

    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    I agree, she is too big to be a virgin or newly mated. Based on the messed up wings i would guess it was a swarm attempt gone wrong. She already had messed up wings and didnt take off with the swarm. Swarm probably noticed the queen was missing and returned. It is still worth finding out which hive it was to make sure they have or can make a new queen, and to take swarm prevention procedures to keep them from trying again with the first queen to hatch.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Skagit, WA, USA
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    229

    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    I found one of my queens on the ground TWICE this year. The first time she fell off a frame hanging outside the hive (or as I slid it back into the hive), and the second time, about two weeks later, the same queen on the ground, by herself, no ball, about three feet away. She seemed to have been inujred the first time, stopped laying, but was not superceeded right away. A couple oldtimers said they "kicked her out" kind of like with drones, I guess. I've not found much mention of this, but they seemed confident it happens that way sometimes...

  6. #6
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    Jun 2011
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    Salt Lake County, Utah
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    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Quote Originally Posted by rsjohnson2u View Post
    I found one of my queens on the ground TWICE this year. The first time she fell off a frame hanging outside the hive (or as I slid it back into the hive), and the second time, about two weeks later, the same queen on the ground, by herself, no ball, about three feet away. She seemed to have been inujred the first time, stopped laying, but was not superceeded right away. A couple oldtimers said they "kicked her out" kind of like with drones, I guess. I've not found much mention of this, but they seemed confident it happens that way sometimes...
    That is quite possibly what happened. We were careful, but I suppose it is always possible we rolled her when we inspected the hives last week. If we did injure her, and it wasn't a supercedure, the new queen should hatch in about a week. I wonder then, if it makes sense to go in now to do an inspection, or to wait a while longer. We are harvesting on Saturday. We'll probably do a thorough inspection on Sunday.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    I would inspect ASAP and when you find the hive it came from, pull off any supers you are going to extract then and there. If you disturb a hive with a new queen, they might ball her. You want to wait until she is established before you mess with her. You also need to make sure you have queen cells. The last thing you need is a hopelessly queenless hive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Kensington, Maryland, USA
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    63

    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Congratulations its a Queen! Get some good cigars and sit tight and enjoy the fact that your colony is now headed by a young, capable queen. In British Royal Terms, you are looking at the queen mother....otherwise knows as the superceeded queen. Mother and her daughter were sharing responsibilities for some period, but now for some reason (winter preps, declining resources, shorter days, who knows) it was time for her to confront her fate. She was not balled per say....just shown the door. I have seen multiple queens in my hives, this time of year. Some colonies will take multiple queens into winter, perhaps as a hedge, or perhaps to ensure fast spring growth. In one case, I found a deceased queen clinging to the front of the hive. She was holding onto the front of the hive, 3-5" above the entrance, with one missing wing. Sounds familiar? Do not disturb the new queen....this is a critical time for her.
    Last edited by gkervitsky; 08-13-2012 at 09:15 PM. Reason: typo

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Salt Lake County, Utah
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    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Quote Originally Posted by activematrix View Post
    The last thing you need is a hopelessly queenless hive.
    I have 3 late summer splits. Too big to be called a nuc, but too small to be a real hive. I'd be happy to combine the queenless hive, if that is what it turns out to be, with one of these queen right, but resource poor hives.

  10. #10
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkervitsky View Post
    She was not balled per say....just shown the door. I have seen multiple queens in my hives, this time of year. Some colonies will take multiple queens into winter, perhaps as a hedge, or perhaps to ensure fast spring growth.
    Thanks for your input. That is kind of what I figured. I was just fascinated to see her all alone on the ground.


    Also, I found the hole where the Yellow Jackets were coming from, and it has been dealt with. It was about 20 yards away from the hive, and had probably 4-5 coming out every 10 seconds, so it was a big nest. They have probably been eating well on the dead and dying bees.

  11. #11
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    Nov 2008
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    Kensington, Maryland, USA
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    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Quote Originally Posted by OSafado View Post
    Also, I found the hole where the Yellow Jackets were coming from, and it has been dealt with.
    Not sure what its like in UT, but we are in the midst of a normal nectar dearth/low period. Bee populations are high and there are lots of colonies being opportunistic and looking for weak hives to rob. Moth populations are high too. Give thought to size of your openings and the entrance that these late season nucs have to defend from Robbers and pests. All of my colonies have small or reduced entrances at this point and my nucs are 3/4 inch holes or less.

  12. #12
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    Jun 2011
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    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkervitsky View Post
    Do not disturb the new queen....this is a critical time for her.
    x2

  13. #13
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    Apr 2012
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    Skagit, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Just to be clear. I wasn't implying that you rolled or damaged your queen, rather, they sometimes just push the old queen out as opposed to killing her outright.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Salt Lake County, Utah
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    Default Re: Found Queen in Front of Hive, on her own not being balled.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkervitsky View Post
    Not sure what its like in UT, but we are in the midst of a normal nectar dearth/low period. Bee populations are high and there are lots of colonies being opportunistic and looking for weak hives to rob. Moth populations are high too. Give thought to size of your openings and the entrance that these late season nucs have to defend from Robbers and pests. All of my colonies have small or reduced entrances at this point and my nucs are 3/4 inch holes or less.

    That's a great point. I don't know of any beehives within a few miles of my nucs, but they all have reduced entrances. I wouldn't say we are in a full fledged dearth, since we are suburban with lots of gardens, but it has been a dry year, and pretty poor overall compared to the past few years.

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