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Thread: Balling a queen

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Salisbury, NC, USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Balling a queen

    What would make a hive ball a "good" queen. The brood pattern was great, she was less than a year old and the hive is healthy. I pulled a frame out of the top box and saw a "ball" of bees. I brushed them off on the top cover and smoked them and in the middle was the queen. It was the right queen (marked) for the hive.
    The hive was a double 5 over 5 nuc 3 weeks ago and I moved them up to a double deep 10 frame. I'm really at a loss on this. They have drawn almost all the foundation and stored some honey and lots of brood and bees. I saw queen cups, that were empty, but not cells. Attached photo shows the balled queen and her brood pattern. Any thoughts?
    Balled Queen.jpg
    img_20170320_170347095 (2).jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    5,811

    Default Re: Balling a queen

    Sometimes we just don't know why they do what they do.
    Perhaps there's a second queen in the hive... it happens sometimes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,322

    Default Re: Balling a queen

    What was the food supply like? I once had a colony ball it's queen to stop her from laying, the ball was on the bottom board in a corner. The colony was eating it's larvae, and had no stored food at all. When I started feeding syrup everything returned to normal.
    40 years - 25 colonies, 32 Nucs - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    4,957

    Default Re: Balling a queen

    A usurpation is another possibility. there are many reasons bee do unusual things. at least in out eyes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Salisbury, NC, USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Balling a queen

    Thanks everyone for the reply. I will have to do some reading on usurpation. They have stored honey and pollen. I will probably super them this weekend and see if they will make a crop and hopefully raise a queen. I will go in it again and see if they have a new queen or cells. It's just puzzling.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    6,704

    Default Re: Balling a queen

    In my observation over the years, there are 2 situation that a queen got balled. One is the disturbance by the beekeeper and the other is that a
    drifter somehow by passed the guard bees and found the good queen to start the balling process. Half of the time it was my disturbance on a hive check that started this and the other half is my hive arrangement that are too close together that caused the drifting. If your hives are not farther apart then consider making another hive rearrangement. Last week I found a balled queen on a hive check caused by a drifter bee. Then caged her for a few days with some young nurse bee and just direct released her yesterday. She was fine the last time I check on her. Your situation might be the rearrangement of the frames into another hive box. For future experience, do another hive check the day after the rearrangement to ensure that everything is alright, mainly the queen.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

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