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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    347

    Default Balling but not killing. Seems strange

    A new queen has been out of the cage for 4 days. Each time I have checked the nuc, there is a huge ball of bees on her but they have not killed her (yet?). I sparyed them with sugar water today and she just walked away and climbed on a different frame.

    Any ideas or suggestion? I thought about mixing a little lemon with sugar water tomorrow (if she is still alive and being balled) them sprying everyone in the hive including her, the frames, and side walls.
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,274

    Default Re: Balling but not killing. Seems strange

    Check the nuc for a virgin or queen cells, it sounds like they are balling to restrain/protect the queen. Are you feeding? I have seen queens balled to prevent them from laying when there was no food in the colony.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,928

    Default Re: Balling but not killing. Seems strange

    The difference between "balling" and healthy retinue can be daunting to a new beekeeper. Sometimes (read always) you need to listen to the bees.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    462

    Default Re: Balling but not killing. Seems strange

    This week I collected a cast swarm with two virgin queens(unbeknownst to me at the time). Dumped them in a box and put on a queen includer. When I went to remove the includer a couple of days later there were two balls of bees on it. In the centre of one was a light brown dead virgin queen. In the centre of the other was a live black virgin queen. I can only assume they were balling to protect one, while balling to kill the other. Looked identical to me.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Balling but not killing. Seems strange

    Plenty of food for the nuc. Got a feeder on top of them and have since it was started. Entrance is 1 1/4 wide by 1/2 tall, no robbing activity seen, no other queen found. Just seems weird
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Default Re: Balling but not killing. Seems strange

    It's difficult to distinguish between bees balling a queen to protect her and balling a queen to confine her. They are generally not trying to kill her, but the end result, if they ball her long enough, is that she dies...

    http://bushfarms.com/huber.htm#commonbeespromotecombat
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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