Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?
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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    I'm just starting to think about making a few nucs - although I probably won't actually start queen-rearing for another fortnight yet. But in order to 'get organised' I pulled a dozen or so drawn frames out of store, and stashed them in an empty Long Hive - one that's situated in a handy position.

    Then, half an hour later - I remembered that I needed a drawn frame with which to install a Nicot Laying Cage ... so, back to the Long Hive 'stash'. And, as I started looking through them - I spotted a Queen on one, looking very lost and unloved. She's nothing special - about mid-sized, and jet black. Possibly a virgin ? - no evidence of a mating sign if so. So - popped her in a mailing cage along with a few of her mates, and half an hour later she's full of beans again. Curious event. That was yesterday.

    Earlier today, I'm doing an inspection, and out of the corner of my eye I spot an unusually large bee. Looking closer - it's another Queen - but this lady is trying to get into a hive where she's not welcome, and a couple of guards are making that very clear indeed. So - duly rescued her too (along with 2 guard bees which I had to pry off her), and my word she's a cracker - one of the best flying Queens I've ever seen - again, probably a virgin, and again jet black.
    I know this one wasn't from the two hives I'd just inspected 'cause those Queens are both coloured 'leather tan' (and far too swollen right now to fly).

    I took a trip around the apiary, and again an hour later, and a third check an hour after that - but there's no sign of any colony distress, so I'm fairly confident these ladies haven't originated from this apiary.

    Very odd indeed.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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  3. #2
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    Occasionally I see the inexplicable action of a queen. Once I found one being balled in a small hive and when I fished her out I recognized her as the queen that lived next door to that hive. She had a smear of paint down her wing, so there was no mistaking her. I looked through that same hive I had just found her in and found the resident queen. Why was she next door? A laying queen in the hive next door? Once I found a marked queen on the outside of the hive. Again, I recognized her as belonging to the hive she was in. She was four years old and marked yellow, so I was pretty sure she lived there. I put her back in, figuring she had probably been superseded and I wouldn't find her there next time. Next time I inspected she was still there and doing fine. I was going through a dead observation hive to get the frames out when I spotted a queen flying out of the corner of my eye and sure enough she landed on the comb and it was a queen. A big fat laying queen. Where had she come from? I don't know. I think there is a lot that queens do and we never spot it and so we think it's rare when maybe it's not as rare as we think... yet somewhat rare or we would see it more often.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #3
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    Sep 2018
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    I had a Black queen in 2015 in a hive. the hive next to it had Q cells from another hive i got, splitting up a swarm hive. I went in to it 3 weeks later to check for eggs, and there was closed hatching brood and the black queen, I went to the hive that formerly had the black queen and it had just hatched a couple virgins. She apparently moved? was odd I though maybe she went out for a dump and got lost, or wanted to re mate. it was an odd thing so yes I can see where a queen could just happen by and get into a hive.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    ...wanted to re mate. ..
    Not long ago I pulled up a talk about queens possibly re-mating later in life (potentially when swarming).
    I just quoted some book on that (no documented confirmation at all - to be sure; just some unconfirmed beliefs).

    Some thought I was strange or whatever.
    But the reality is - no one knows either way and no one has solid confirmation either way.
    Granted, we have so much technology now days - still, no one knows.

    If more complex humans do crazy things currently (sex changes, personality changes, etc) - what bees are doing could be just as crazy.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    they may also leave it if the option is being killed in a supercedure scenario. for the virgin she could have got lost, you know girls and directions, was it a right at the big red barn or... some of them do not come back to mating NUCs so who knows where they end up.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Once I found a marked queen on the outside of the hive. Again, I recognized her as belonging to the hive she was in.

    She was just taking a break from the kids. All moms need some down-time.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    An update: thought I'd give my newly-renovated 3-way nuc box an outing - placed the stray queens in the two outermost sections with a frame of bees/ stores etc., above a strong hive separated by double QX's. One queen absconded (yet again, I guess) - the other has stayed put and currently appears quite happy.

    So, 50% success or failure - depending on whether you're a 'glass half-full or empty' kind of person.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    I once bought a nuc from a guy reputed locally to have strong bees who on rare occasion sold a few nucs if he produced extra queens.

    Well, on the pickup day, he opened the nuc to show me her laying pattern and take frames to put in my nuc box. We couldn't locate the queen in the 1st 4 frames, when he pulled the last frame, there she was on the bottom of the box in a full blown fight with another marked queen. Some how one of his production queens moved 3 doors down to the nucs.

    Little John, since I am from Texas which is about as far as you can be from the "Queens English", what does "fortnight" mean Or how long is that? One day?

    My uncle Benny Hill, said it was "engrish"
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    Hi Western - a fortnight is 2 weeks. It's one of those words I've been using 'for ever' and had no idea what it's origins were ... so, I've just looked it up.

    Apparently it's an abbreviation of the olde English expression "fourteen nights" ... hence 2 weeks. I'm glad you asked 'cause now I know ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Hi Western - a fortnight is 2 weeks. It's one of those words I've been using 'for ever' and had no idea what it's origins were ... so, I've just looked it up.

    Apparently it's an abbreviation of the olde English expression "fourteen nights" ... hence 2 weeks. I'm glad you asked 'cause now I know ...
    LJ
    LOL, thanks sir, I have read the term in books and heard it, tho not as much as I'm sure you have and never really knew exactly what time frame it referenced.
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    depending on whether you're a 'glass half-full or empty' kind of person.
    LJ
    It is twice as big as it needs to be :P

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    Quote Originally Posted by elmer_fud View Post
    It is twice as big as it needs to be :P
    Or is it ... ?

    Western's question was to get me thinking overnight ... isn't 14 days a very odd unit of time ? Well, it seems so at first sight because we're used to having 30 and 31 day months - but actually it's those which are odd.

    The 'natural' unit of time here on Earth is 28 days - a Lunar cycle. So - half of that is 14 days, and half again is 7 days (which we're used to). It would have made a lot more sense - when this stuff was first imposed on us - to have had 13 Lunar months a year. That would be 364 days, very close to a Solar year. But - can't see such a fundamental change happening any time soon. Perhaps "come the revolution" ?
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Anyone lost a queen (or two) ?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    ..... Perhaps "come the revolution" ?
    LJ
    For the starters, I wish the politicians finally cancelled those stupid bi-annual clock changes (you know, to save on the burning candles).
    Even that seems to be an un-surmountable problem to handle.

    Calendar changes? Not a chance, LJ.

    Sorry for off-top!
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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