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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, I saw two different queens in two different nucs being balled. The entrance way to these two nucs was about 6 feet away from each other.

On one, I saw a worker bee on top of one of my queens trying to sting her.

1) Once stung, can a queen survive the puncture wounds.
2) Why didn't her bees come to her rescue? I am assuming that these queens each belonged in the nuc as not all bees tried to ball her. Just a few.
3) How does one rescue a queen being balled or is it too late?
 

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well hey PA, long time no hear. I have lost 2 queens to balling so far this year. Both have died shortly after the attack and i have managed to get the bees off of them both very quickly. I pulled a stinger out of one's face and the other looked good, was testing her wings in my hands, but curled up about 5 minutes later. Id say you would have to catch them as soon as they start....i literally picked up the balling bees and dropped them from about 3 inches to break them up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
devdog, Thanks - I probably will be looking at two queenless nucs -- I actually pulled the stinging bee off of my one queen, but it was hard and she waddled away. The crazy thing was that not all bees tried to ball or hurt her.

Both queens were beautiful and were created from swarm cells that I had pulled from my hives.
 

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devdog, Thanks - I probably will be looking at two queenless nucs -- I actually pulled the stinging bee off of my one queen, but it was hard and she waddled away. The crazy thing was that not all bees tried to ball or hurt her.

Both queens were beautiful and were created from swarm cells that I had pulled from my hives.
I had a virgin wonder in off the streets from some place in the great beyond, and they were on her like white on rice. Kinda makes you wonder though...do the bees on the outside of the ball really think they are stinging here...LOL
 

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Balling is not always a sign of aggression.
There are times that they will ball a queen to protect her.
 

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JPK brings up a GREAT point and one i completely forgot about. I have seen them do this before in one of my hives.....The hive was getting robbed and the balled the queen for protection. It was truly amazing.
 

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Now that you mention that they are doing it to protect them that is just what I have seen earlier this spring. I marked all of my newly mated queens and a few of them got balled so I was concerned. I came back over 24 hrs later and they were laying pretty as you please.They were actually holding her down to the comb but when I looked closely the were sticking their tongues out to her. I was wondering about this behavior.
 

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I just re-queened my aggressive hive. It was a swarm I caught last year. There were really slow getting going I had to feed them a lot longer than I'd hoped. Anyway, this spring she started out strong then nothing. I'd spotted a lump on her side last year and didn't know what was so when I took her out I took her in and checked it out.
She had a stinger stuck in her side under the scales. Do you think that is what stopped her laying? She had it for at least half a year. :scratch:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
At least, this gives me hope -- I will be looking at the nucs tomorrow.

Today, I looked into another nuc in another yard and saw the queen and when I put the frame back in the nuc. I went to get another frame and immediately noticed that a lump of bees had formed on the bottom of the nuc. I pulled the frame out to investigate and low and behold, they had balled the queen. I think she fell off of the frame and when I saw it waddle again, one of her wings was a little damaged.
 

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The damages wing is more likely than a stinging, but they will smother a queen sometimes. Usually if you are gentle and patient and use a bit of smoke for distraction you can pull a balled queen out and save her. I usually put her in a candy cage so they can't get to her but they can release her eventually...
 

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Mike, Do you think the stinger just got stuck under the scale? I pulled it out with care and checked it under a magnifying glass just to be sure. There is no doubt that it was a stinger and she'd had it in the winter. I wonder if it had no venom or it just lodged there. During some mishap. Interesting.
 

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By the way, that hive accepted a new queen with out any drama. As I have in the past I did it wrong. I couldn't find the old lumpy queen before the new queen arrived ( decided she must have died since there were no eggs, larva etc). So the day I got a break in the weather to put the new queen in, of course I discover she's alive and kicking but still not laying. Our weather had been so awful I didn't want to chance waiting after I removed the old queen so I popped the queen cage, just with a sugar cork and crossed my fingers. 10 days later when the weather was nice again, the new queen was out and wandering the frames. Huzzah!
 
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