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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
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    4

    Default The queen has been kicked out

    Hello all,

    I'm a first year beekeeper and just installed my first hive of bees into a brand new hive in my backyard a few weeks ago. Everything has been going great: The queen was accepted, the bees have been foraging, and there have been pollen, eggs, larva, and capped brood located on about three of my frames.

    This morning, I was looking out of a window of my house towards the beehive located about 20 yards away. I noticed a large cluster of bees on the landing pad, but didn't think anything of it other than they were getting ready to start their day. A couple hours later, I went out to watch the bees and noticed a rather large bee climbing on the grass near the hive. To my surprise, it was the queen. She was still alive, but seemed weakened. Not knowing what to do, I put her on the landing pad where the other bees started congregating around her. I threw on my veil, opened up the hive, and put her back in. While the hive was open, I decided to check a couple of the frames. They all looked really good and I didn't see any obvious supercedure cells. Didnt really notice any new eggs, but wasn't really looking for them and didn't have much light to work with anyway. I closed up the hive after about five minutes since it was around 60 and kind of drizzly this morning. I'm not feeling to optimistic about the queen making a recovery or being reintegrated back into the hive after apparently being rejected.

    I plan on opening the hive back up in a couple of days to see if any eggs are being laid, if there are any more robust supercedure cells, and what the general health is of the hive. At that point I will determine whether I should order a new queen or not. Do you think this is the right course of action, or should I have a different approach?

    Moreover, has this ever happened to anybody? Granted I'm a newbie, but this seems very unusual, especially since things were going to well to this point. I just happened to be in the right place on the right time to put her back in the hive, otherwise I may not have even known there was a problem for another week or so. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    361

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    I think that is the right coarse of action. The bees are better at gauging the queen quality than we are and if they kicked her out they probably had plans for replacement. Suspect this may happen more and not be noticed sometimes. If you weren't looking out the window at that time you most likely would have never known your bees replaced their queen unless you are inspecting the broodnest often.

    Someone here said that packages sometimes do this after the first brood emerge because of the out of whack age structure of the the colony (a lot of old bees and a lot of very young w/ nothing in the middle). Mentioned that the bees might read this as a queen issue and supercede. Sounds plausible but, as far as I know, it is just conjecture. Can't remember where or why I saw that mentioned.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,977

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    You are lucky to be able to spot the queen. Me, I cannot even find her.
    But a bunch of queen cells are waiting in there. They must of throw out the queen
    when I wasn't there a few days ago.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    Just out of curiosity, were the queen's wings clipped?

    Sondra

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    I wonder if there is already another queen in there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Carlton,WA,USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    I have had a similar experience, with an established hive. In my case, I noticed the queen in the grass in front of the hive with a clump of perhaps 15 bees. Put her on the landing board, whereupon she flew a couple feet away and into the grass again. So, I opened the lid and put her directly into the hive. Checked the hive the next week and everything was normal.

    Very curious behavior and I am at a loss to explain it.

    Anyone want to try?

    "Met-How" Kraig

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    Quote Originally Posted by SRBrooks View Post
    Just out of curiosity, were the queen's wings clipped?

    Sondra
    I think I know where this is leading....a failed swarm?

    My mentor has had several failed swarms this year. He doesn't clip his queens and the only thing we can figure is that the bees didn't give the queen enough grief to cause her to slim down enough for flight.

    Ed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    >Very curious behavior and I am at a loss to explain it.
    >Anyone want to try?

    Unless I could prove it was the same queen who still lives there, I would assume it was a virgin who got run out. But I have seen things I could not explain, like a marked queen sunning herself on the lid. I put her back in and she was still there a month or so later. Or a laying queen gone missing who I found in the hive next door being balled... I don't know why she went next door...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    Thanks for all of your responses! Unfortunately, I'm not sure if the queen's wings are clipped or not. Since I'm brand new, I simply went along with a group order that my beginner beekeeping class made. I received a package of 10,000 Italian bees with a mated queen, as is standard. She wasn't marked. They were from Georgia, but I'm not sure of the exact farm. Do breeders usually clip the queen's wings? I can tell you that she did not fly, nor even seemed to really attempt to when I was holding her. Her wings did seem intact though, not bitten or anything, and there were no obvious signs of injury. When I put her back on the landing pad, they didn't immediately attempt to ball her or anything. I'm certainly no expert, but swarming seems unlikely with such a new hive. It is literally only a few weeks old, and they really only have three frames going at this point. I am going to open it tomorrow and hope I see some eggs. If not I'm going to order a new queen. I've been told that foragers bringing pollen in is a sign of egg laying, and they haven't really been doing that today or yesterday, but it has also been a little chilly and drizzly here in Ohio during this time.

    I've also been told there is an outside chance there was a virgin queen in the package and she could have started laying, causing the old queen to be rejected, but again, the queen wasn't dead, only outside the hive by herself and lethargic. Who knows? Maybe she just decided to go for a walk and fell off the landing pad.

    Thanks for your help! I guess I just need to accept the fact that bees are gonna do what bees are gonna do.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    I've included a pic of the queen after I picked her up yesterday. Now that it's been brought up, her wings do seem small.image.jpg

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Belfast, Ireland
    Posts
    472

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    That queen is not clipped.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Carlton,WA,USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    Regarding my experience, which is slightly different than Jonathan's:

    [QUOTE=Michael Bush;931296]
    Unless I could prove it was the same queen who still lives there, I would assume it was a virgin who got run out. /QUOTE]

    It wasn't a virgin. She had a large abdomen.

    Can't prove she was the queen for that hive, but it seems likely since she was only a few inches in front of the entrance. Also, if she was from another hive, seems like I would have found a QL hive that week or the next. I keep around 20 and I would have noticed a QL hive.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    I'm certainly not saying she couldn't be a laying queen. Just that the most likely explanation for a queen out of the hive, is that she is an extra queen (typically a virgin or the old queen being superseded). And that the most likely explanation is, just that, most likely. She very well might not be an extra queen, as I have occasionally (but not commonly) seen the reigning queen of a hive outside, for no apparent reason I can find.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Beavercreek, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    Opened up the hive today. No queen, no larva, no eggs. Lots of capped brood, and only a few of what looked like potential emergency cells. Would like to get a order new queen, but it seems none are available right now. I really hope some of these emergency cells pan out and everything turns out ok, but I don't know if I have enough population built up to make it. This is my first and only hive, here's hoping I don't have to wait another year to get another one going.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    I just had a hive go queenless. A local Beek sold me a Nuc to get the hive qoeen right and bees to restock the hive. Contact your local bee clubs, may be they can help.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,977

    Default Re: The queen has been kicked out

    Funny! You are here worrying about the hive without a queen. I am here worry about how to get 16 queen cells ready for their
    hatching and mating flight to take place. It is so windy here. First I have to make more nucs to house them first. Hope all goes well. What to do withso many queens? I still want to get some honey this year, you know.

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