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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    874

    Default queen got balled

    I got some queens from Bweaver on Friday. and put them in the hives in 5x7 push in cages. I went to release the first one today, four days later. I opened the hive and pulled out her frame, the cage had her and a bunch of bees in it. I couldn't tell if they were bees that hatched out, or some that borrowed in. Anyway I put the new queen in a queen clip so I could keep track of her and laid her on top of some frames. some bees gathered on the clip as they normally do. I went through the hive and got rid of any queen cells. I then touched up the paint on the new queen, it was almost gone. I then laid her back on top of the frames. I did about five more minutes of work and went back to get the queen and noticed a lot of bees on the clip. I picked it up and blew the bees off and could see that they were balling her. I got her out but she was dead, does anybody know why? I am going to try to release anther queen tomorrow.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,325

    Default Re: queen got balled

    You trapped her in a cage she couldn't escape from, but one that workers could access.

    I can't count how many times, while I'm holding a queen by the legs with my left hand, and marking them with my right hand, that some worker(s) flying by land on the queens and immediately try to sting them. I've had to become wary of this or I'd lose lots of queens while I'm marking them.

    I've also had experiences almost identical to the one you describe, where I've left a queen in one of those "hair-clip queen catchers" and bees took advantage of the sitting target and balled her to death.

    Once in awhile I've also had a recently marked queen balled, possibly due to the odor of the marking paint. Or just because I had caused the queen to momentarily behave unqueenly.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,609

    Default Re: queen got balled

    Not very often, but I have had them do that after marking the queen before. The only other thing I can think of is maybe there is a queen or queen cell in that box that you over looked?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,647

    Default Re: queen got balled

    I have notice this before with my newly marked queen. They all started balling her after the release on top of one of the frames. She was lucky to fell into one of the frame's open space to save her life. I think it has to do with the paint smell that we are using. I use the titebond III glue follow by another layer of red acrylic paint. But I have to take her out of the hive for 48 minutes for the paint and glue to dry before putting her back inside. Maybe the fresh paint caused the worker bees not to like her.

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