Was the queen being “balled”?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Jonesborough TN USA
    Posts
    44

    Default Was the queen being “balled”?

    I placed a frame of eggs in a queenless nuc box 32 days ago. They developed some emergency queen cells. I checked the hive today for a laying queen. The hive was still broodless. No eggs. I found the queen. She was near the entrance to the hive on the screened bottom board with either a circle of bees around her or a clump of bees on top of her. I can’t remember. I blew on them because I had not seen the queen yet and I did not know what I was seeing. She then ran for the entrance which I blocked with my arm and then she started scrambling up the side of the box to go out the top so I put a cover on. Then I looked into the nuc box again and never having seen this behavior I would say they were balling her. They were all piled on top of her and I assume killing her. I put the hive back together and I don’t know what to think. Any chance the queen survived? Could something else have been going on besides killing her? Did I do something to cause this? Maybe it was a virgin queen that returned to the wrong hive. Also 2 days ago I had a mated laying queen fly off while I was combining a hive. Perhaps it was her. The queen did not look to me like a virgin queen but I was so flustered I am not sure. I have had 2 queens fly away during inspections this summer so all I could think about was don’t let this one fly away. Perhaps I should have. So I assume I have a queen less hive again.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,446

    Default Re: Was the queen being “balled”?

    Although rarely, I have seen unmarked Queens on top of the inner cover or outside the upper ventilation hole or running around like mad. I think what you are seeing is the fight for dominance after multiple Queens emerge. As for the balling, maybe the bees decided.
    I would look again in a few days and take note of the bees behavior as well.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,295

    Default Re: Was the queen being “balled”?

    "with either a circle of bees around her or a clump of bees on top of her."
    This is the two opposite spectrums. One when they are accepting her and the other killing her. If you see a queen being balled take the clump out and try and extract her. I mistakenly put one back in the wrong hive and it was instantaneous. luckily i was able to get to her and get her out.
    Terrence

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