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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, all! Yesterday I tried to increase the population on the weaker hive by shaking some nurse bees into it from the stronger hive. Funny is the weaker hive has a bigger and stronger queen than the stronger hive which has a slender but more prolific queen. But I am sure both are about the same in terms of laying ability once well feed. I'm hoping to graft from this prolific but slender queen too this year. So on accident I brushed the slender queen into the weaker hive thinking that she was on the other frame where I left her. But I did not know she had moved into the frame that I shook the bees from.
Today almost before the sun goes down, I did a hive check again on the smaller hive. I noticed that the number of bees have increased quite a bit. Then I saw a ball of bees on one of the frames that I check. Instantly I knew something was wrong because they don't normally behaved like this. On a normal frame of bees they form a smooth pattern running up and down, usually. So I dug into this ball of bees with my hive tool and found the slender queen inside all cling up with worker bees. On her back was a worker bee attacking her tenaciously and would not let go when I grabbed her. So I plucked this worker off and then put the queen in between toward the outside frames of her hive. I thought after a night that she should be a goner by now with so many bees trying to get her. Somehow she survived thru all these ordeal but got beaten up quite a bit. What is protecting her from being kill over night? Is her exoskeleton a bit tougher than the stings and biting of the worker bees? Or it was just peer luck for her.
At this time of the year it is very critical to keep a good laying queen on this initial Spring flow. Could not imagine what I would do if they had killed her. I don't have any backup queen now. The weather is not good enough to rear some queens yet. What a close call. Next time I know to be more careful on where I put my bees to. Anyone has similar story to share?

Prolific slender Italian queen:
 

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I don't have a similar story, but I recently read about a similar process with a safty catch. Temporarily put a queen excluder on top of the hive that is receiveng the bees, then place an empty super on top of the excluder. Shake bees into the empty super. The nurse bees will move on down and if the queen is accidentally shaken in, the excluder will prevent her from going anywhere.
 

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but keep in mind that heavy smoke is usually from a pretty hot fire. The gases coming out of a smoker can be several hundred degrees. So be careful if directing smoke at a queen, the heat might singe her. Then you would be singing:

"Alas poor queenie, a smoker blast got 'er"
 

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Yes. I guess I'm assuming some knowledge and skill of a smoker that is sometimes lacking. I just mean pour it into the hive in general for any kind of situation like this. You can also put the ball on your hand and puff cool smoke directly on them but after, I'd still smoke the hive. I'm not usually in favor of heavy smoke but fighting is one situation that I've seen it help with.
 

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Perhaps e bees from her original hive that you shook in we're balling her to protect her from the rest of the hive. Maybe that's how she lasted as long as she did. You will probably want to check again (after some time) to make sure she did indeed make it and was accepted by her old hive again. She may have been too damaged even if she was alive when you put her back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I checked on her yesterday and she is fine now. Usually, like the last queen who died, neither hive will accept her because
all the bee scents got mixed up on her. But this one is lucky, I guess being a younger August queen. Maybe her strong hormones
can cover the smells of the other bees better. I put her between the frames that only have the pollen but not many bees. I am not sure here but glad that she is laying again. You are right that there are bees from her side to protect her a bit since I am running a 2 queen hives inside a plastic 55 gal. barrel hybrid (Langs and TBH) bee hive now. So far they stay away from each others until I messed up again. I will keep this one in mind doing any kind of combining the next time.
 
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