Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Bellevue, NE, USA
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    Default Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    I have a emergency question. I opened one of my hives to remove the apivar strips. Did that successfully. Then I was checking my bottom box and spotted the queen so I decided to mark her. My first attempt ever by the way. I didnt squeeze her hard but when I pulled the plunger down she wasn't moving. Her thorax was pulsing and it looked like eggs were coming out it. I put her back on a top bar and she slowly sank into the hive still not moving but pulsing. Is she dead? Im pretty upset with myself for that. There were eggs in the upper box so I hope the can supercede her if she is dead. And the worst part is she's our best queen. Quick build up, super calm and best honey producer out of our 3 hive. I think shes a Carniolan, black in color.
    "Never slow down, just go around." Me, until i started keeping bees.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    I think you know the answer to this already.

    Most queen marking tubes have soft foam inserts to keep from crushing the queen. Nonetheless, you only need to push the plunger up far enough to immobilize her, not to flatten her.

    FWIW, I have just started this year marking my queens. Always been afraid of fat fingers and poor motor control.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
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    Aug 2019
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    Bellevue, NE, USA
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Ugh! Judging by your answer shes dead. I even put softer foam on the plunger to prevent this. I may have to start practicing on hand picking drones then move to a queen. Next year. Isn't it a little late in the season for a supercedure? what are the odd this hive will make it through the winter?
    "Never slow down, just go around." Me, until i started keeping bees.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    It is late. MB would be better suited to tell you what is possible there in Omaha. I am trying a few late season queens just for practice. I have no intention of making a new split with them, but maybe replace a poor performing queen or two so that brood production is uninterrupted. If you still have drones it could happen, but by the time a new queen is laying, it will be October. I would put the odds at less than 50/50 the hive survives by trying to make a new queen. Order a new one on tuesday after you do an inspection and see queen cells started by monday. Who knows, you may see eggs, but that is really unlikely.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
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    Aug 2019
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    Bellevue, NE, USA
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Dang it! I pm'd him. Im feelin pretty gun shy about opening em up that early. I really liked this queen and her genetics. Hardly any SHB, Not aggressive, great build up and best honey stores. how do you mark your queens? use a tube and plunger or by hand?
    "Never slow down, just go around." Me, until i started keeping bees.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Bellevue, NE, USA
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Ido have a small nuc that has a queen. i dont think theyll make the winter. You think I could put her in there?
    "Never slow down, just go around." Me, until i started keeping bees.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Personally, I use the one handed queen catcher from Mann Lake. I am not good enough to catch them by hand yet. I can mark my newly emerged virgins by hand though as they are easy to handle fresh out of the incubator.

    Combining a nuc with a hive when you lose a queen late in the season is one of the primary reasons to have nucs. I would absolutely wait until you see queen cells to verify the queen did not survive. No point in combining until you know for sure. Give them until Monday and if you see qc's, tear them all down and combine the nuc with the hive using a sheet of newspaper between the two. You can make a transition board out of a piece of plywood cut to fit the outside of the hive with a hole in it cut to the inside dimensions of the nuc. You can see these in bee supply catalogs but they are super simple to make.

    Let us know how the hive looks on Monday. These things happen. When my State inspector checked my hives earlier this year, we accidentally alcohol washed the queen in one of my hives. Oops.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    If they start cells, do as JWP says and tear them down. Be prepared to have to tear them down twice though, since viable full function queens can be made up to 5 days from the last egg laid, and partial caste queen for a bit longer. This is not the usual case but I have been bitten by it and lost a valuable queen.

    I am presently waiting out that exact scenario not knowing whether I rushed the process a week ago. I found a few more started cells about the time the introduced queen should have gotten out of the cage. She may have been accepted or they might be queenless.

    About that oops! I have a strong suspicion I had that happen too! Cells 3 days after the inspector left!
    Frank

  10. #9
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    Aug 2019
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    Bellevue, NE, USA
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Thanks guys for the info. Puts me a little more at ease about losing my star queen. The nuc has a queen form a lesser hive in comparison to the three. Not as aggressive as my other one but not the hard worker as my dead queen. ugh i didnt think queens were so fragile.
    "Never slow down, just go around." Me, until i started keeping bees.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Occasionally when I mark a queen, she faints. Had one this summer. She flew off the comb when I tried to catch her...flew right into my hand. She immediately fainted. Thought she was dead, but as you say...pulsing. I put her in a cage and in the shade under my marking table. Took her a half hour to recover. Added some attendants. An hour later all was well. I used that queen in a new nuc. Queen is doing well.

    Next time you have a fainter, place her in a cage, add a few attendants, and place the cage in the shade. Most of them will recover.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Enfield,Ct.
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Search the archives for fainting queen.It's pretty common.
    I had it happen twice this year after marking.
    Check for the queen again or for eggs after 4 days.
    I bet she's fine.Queens are tough.

  13. #12
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    Feb 2012
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    Earlysville, Virginia USA
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Yes fainting queens happen to me every year and it is so disconcerting. This year for the first time i did have one not recover from the faint...as in I killed her. I know she was not squished and was only out of the hive in the shade for a few minutes but she up and died after the marking. So strange.

  14. #13
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    I have had two queens balled immediately after painting, but I have not had one faint on me yet. Not looking forward to that anxiety.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Quote Originally Posted by JUGGERNAUT View Post
    I didnt squeeze her hard but when I pulled the plunger down she wasn't moving. Her thorax was pulsing and it looked like eggs were coming out it.
    This is the part that made me think it was not fainting. Never had one faint on me, but I am aware of the phenomenon. This sounds like she was crushed.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Aug 2019
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    Bellevue, NE, USA
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Wow guys. I am so grateful for all the info. Really putting me at ease... For now untill monday when i go check for eggs. lol. I definitely did not crush her. If i woulda saw yellow then i knew i would have crushed her. like i said she was pulsing and if she would have been crushed her abdomen wall would have been comprimised and unable to pulse. Im pretty good at paying attention to detail. USAF taught me that.
    "Never slow down, just go around." Me, until i started keeping bees.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    I am certainly keeping my fingers crossed for you and hoping for the best. One of the reasons I was adamant about waiting to combine the nuc with the hive. You will know one way or the other in three days.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  19. #18
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    Aug 2019
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I am certainly keeping my fingers crossed for you and hoping for the best. One of the reasons I was adamant about waiting to combine the nuc with the hive. You will know one way or the other in three days.
    I agree. I still have time to combine if I need to. Patients is what I need right now. Just as your Sig says JW. Thank you sir.
    "Never slow down, just go around." Me, until i started keeping bees.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    Pins and needles here. What did you find out?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Bellevue, NE, USA
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    Default Re: Did I kill my Queen? NNOOOOO!

    I didnt get time to check today but i did check them yesterday and there were eggs. I didnt see them starting queen cells though. does that mean anything? Does a day early make a difference?
    "Never slow down, just go around." Me, until i started keeping bees.

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