Did my queen pass out?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    Default Did my queen pass out?

    Last week I was inspecting a hive that I split for a new queen. When I found her I grabbed her with a plastic queen catcher and brought her into my house so i could mark her. I let her out and grabbed her with my fingers and marked her. When i let go of her, she was dead. I couldn't believe that I killed her. I put her on the counter and moved her around, she was lifeless. I went out to close the hive back up and figured that i might as well drop her in the bottom of the hive so everyone could see that she was dead, and that it was time to make a new one. Three days later I go out to check for a queen cell and there she was, laying eggs. What happened, this queen did not move for 10 minutes before I dropped her back in the hive?
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    Fumes from your marker likely.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    SOMERSET, ENGLAND
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    They sometimes do this, go into a sort of comatose state, maybe shock, had a few queens do this over the years, all of them okay after putting them back on a comb with the bees for a few minutes.

  5. #4
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    Aug 2014
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    There's a strong possibility that she had stung herself in the leg - this can easily happen during 'hands-on' queen manipulations, which causes a temporary paralysis which feigns death, and which will last - typically - for 20-30 minutes or so.

    There have been many reports from beekeepers who have given such a queen the 'size 10 boot' or a vodka bath when, if they'd left her alone (as you did) she would have completely recovered, given just a little time.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    Wow. There is a valuable piece of information.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Sedgwick Co. KS
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    Did this, by chance, happen on Easter Sunday?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    I have owned 2 queens that had "fainting" episodes and neither of the queens were touched before falling from the frames.

    It's my opinion that the idea of the queen stinging themselves on the legs is just part of beekeeping lore, like tanging to cause a swarm to settle on a tree limb. The only documented use of the queens sting is against other queens, with a rare report of beekeepers being stung while clipping/marking queens. During the fight between virgins they are careful not to sting except in the wing-root area on the thorax.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    Default

    Thanks everyone for the replies.
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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    It's my opinion that the idea of the queen stinging themselves on the legs is just part of beekeeping lore, like tanging to cause a swarm to settle on a tree limb. The only documented use of the queens sting is against other queens, with a rare report of beekeepers being stung while clipping/marking queens. During the fight between virgins they are careful not to sting except in the wing-root area on the thorax.
    I don't think anyone has ever suggested that this happens as a result of a deliberate action - but rather, that when a queen is held by the wings, her legs frequently flail about as she struggles to free herself. Then, if she should curl her abdomen and expose her sting - which now faces forward - there's a very realistic possibility of one of her back legs touching that stinger momentarily, causing the queen to 'faint'- such an event being consistent with this happening during inexperienced handling. It's possible of course that queens may 'faint' at other times for unrelated reasons.

    A sting in a queens' leg from a worker - which certainly has been observed and documented several times - is a far more serious matter as, being barbed, it remains in place (and so lends itself to being photographed) and it is then only a matter of time before that leg becomes non-functional, invariably resulting in supersedure.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
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    Oct 2015
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    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    Had a queen fly off and settle on the neighboring hive, drawing at least 3 stings from defenders. i caged her and moved her hive about 30 minutes to another yard. Never fainted, and was still alive when I placed the hive and released her.

    Still subscribe to the probability that she had just "huffed" too many paint fumes from the marker. Or the solvent drying off cooled her too much.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    lafargeville ny usa
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    a very interesting thread. as opposed to i got my bees a week ago and want to know how to treat for mites 3 times in the next 10 days. [ no mention of actual mite counts]...

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    If you handle enough queens you'll see on faint now and again. I've seen it a few times. Here's Jay Smith's theory:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...d.htm#fainting

    "The Question of Cataleptic Queens.

    "In handling queens, many beekeepers have observed that once in a great while a queen suddenly becomes unconscious and sometimes dies. The reason assigned is that she took a cramp or had a cataleptic fit.

    "The author has observed this for the past twenty years. Some seasons it would occur but once; during others half a dozen times or more. In my mind there has always been some doubts whether or not the queen was cataleptic. One season, the loss was heavier than usual. One day two were lost. I say "lost" as the queens were always discarded after having a "fit," for previous experience had made me believe that they were permanently injured by having these "spells."

    "The day the two queens were lost, I observed how very similar was the action of the injured queen to the one that had been stung by another queen. There was a sudden collapse, then a slight quivering of the legs. In one case this lasted for over half an hour, when the queen slowly revived. In the other case, the queen quivered four about the same length of time and then died. It seemed certain to me that in some mysterious manner these queens were getting poison from a sting. Could it be that the poison on my fingers from worker-stings was causing the mischief? Investigation failed to substantiate this. I noticed that in one case the queen had taken hold of the top of her abdomen with a front foot, which might indicate that she had received a slight prick in the foot from her own sting. I therefore watched carefully and soon this belief was confirmed. The queen in taking hold of the tip of her abdomen exposed the sting. Then, in trying to get hold with the rest of her feet, she would strike right at the point of the sting. In this manner she undoubtedly received some of the poison. Since that time we have taken great care that a queen is not allowed to take hold of the tip of her abdomen, consequently no more queens have been afflicted with fainting spells."--Jay Smith, Queen Rearing Simplified Chapter XXV
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Victory Township, Michigan
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    36

    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    I came here to mention Jay Smith but Micheal beat me to it. We had this happen last year, watch her for a few minutes, see came to and walked down into the hive. She stopped laying soon after and the hive never created any supersedure cells. Lost that one.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
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    16

    Default Re: Did my queen pass out?

    Obviously, she was nursed back to life by her nurse bees

    Vic

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