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Heard some Quacking .. or Piping?

3135 Views 16 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Capricorn
OK, In may or so I tried to walk away split. It didn't work, and dwindled. I moved it to a nuc, and it turned laying worker. I've been adding a frame of open brood a week for a while, and had picked up a new queen (thanks Pugs and Mr. Palmer!). Adding the open brood seemed to cut down on the laying worker a lot. Last Saturday (a little more then 5 days ago) I added a queen in her cage, leaving the cork in. I pulled all frames at that time, and didn't see any new queen cells. There has been a supercedure cell on one of the frames for a while though. It was moved from queen right hive quite a while ago. I believe it was empty then. I didn't look at it too closely when I added the caged queen. Today I went out to pull the cork on the queen, leaving them to eat the candy to release her. There were bees on her cage, but they were moving slow. The colony didn't roar when I opened the hive (it has in the past). As I was placing the cage back in the hive and closing it up, I heard what sounded like quacking. I've never heard Piping or Quacking from bees before first hand. It was really neat to hear! Now I'm wondering though, is there a virgin queen in there (piping I guess?), or was it the caged queen quacking?

My hope is to get this thing queen right, so it sounds like either way that should happen. In all it's a great learning experience!


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Queens generally only pipe in answer to another queen. My guess is there is another queen. It could be the one in the cage or the other one you hear.
Thanks for the response. It was fun to hear. If there are two queens in there, then I guess we'll see who wins out. I kinda hope its the marked one.
Earlier this season I heard piping in one of my hives. Had to do an inspection anyway and I spotted her while she was piping. I saw her stop and watched her flex as she piped. I didn't have my video camera, as it would have been a great shot. Anyway, that hive went queenless later, so if there was another queen, they both lost the battle. :(
I've heard a worker bee making sounds buzzing her wings in a pattern... I thought only queens did it, but I was watching her, and she'd buzz, stop, buzz buzz, stop, etc. High pitched and very deliberate, not like she was just trying to shake something off.

Anyone know why a worker would 'sound off'?
Well if there are 2 queens in there, I hope the victory is quick and decisive. I'd like one to survive! :D
I've kept bees for 12 or so years & I've never heard piping that I know of. How loud is it? What does the sound compare to?
Here's a good video of piping:
>Anyone know why a worker would 'sound off'?

I don't know why, but I've heard them often enough. It does sound different than a queen though.
What I heard was a single tone, about a second long, which sounded a lot like a duck quack. There were three of these sounds made each about a second to two seconds apart. It was definitely a lot louder then any other sound coming out of the hive, but I doubt I would have heard it if I had been 10 feet away or more. I only recognized it because I had read some about it and watched a few youtube videos that had captured the audio of it.

In all I feel blessed to have heard it. I was pretty excited about it. To me it seemed like one of those rare parts of nature you are sometimes lucky enough to catch a glance of.
There are two distinct sounds I've heard from a queen. A queen in a cell will make a "quack" sound. A queen outside the cell will make a "zoot" sound. I assume it's the same except for the change in resonance because of the cell.
Well here's to hoping there was a queen in a cell (and that she has mated). I went out to pull the queen cage the other day, and found the queen and attendants dead in the cage. No one had eaten through the candy. They had started on both sides, and gotten close, but no one made it. Sooo.. I'm guessing I can learn a few things from this. First, maybe I need to poke a hole through the candy in the future, or maybe I should have just released her entirely after 3-5 days. What I'm wondering, is why didn't the house bees feed her? I had read that they would. The cage was on top of the top bars, positioned with the screen down between two top bars, where there was brood below. I had opened the nuc a few times (once to release her) and there were always bees on the cage. There were bees on the screen of the cage when I pulled the cork. Did they not feed her because of the other queen? Did they not feed her because I should have placed the cage down in the hive instead of the on the top bars? I'll be on vacation during this next weekend, so it will probably be another 10 days or so before I can open it up for inspection. Hoping to see eggs when I do though...

Thanks all!
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Does my assessment and action seem reasonable? Does anyone have any feedback or advice pertaining to this scenario?


Hi Jim,

Sorry you lost the queen. I lost one I got from Russell. I think there must have been a virgin in there I didn't know about as the bees didn't take care of the queen in the cage at all. Just ignored her. She was dead three days later. I'm looking through the nuc this weekend to see if I can find her. They are bringing in pollen like mad though. I tried to take a peak this afternoon without my veil, but I was in a cloud of bees suddenly and chickened out.

I don't know what to tell you. I've never poked a hole in the sugar. I usually check in three days and do a direct release if they look like the queen is excepted and they haven't released her. I had to do that with one of Russell's and one of M P's.

Hey Pugs,

No worries, and thanks again! Like I said early on, I'm looking at all of this as a learning experience, so if I learn from it then I'm happy. I'm guessing the bees didn't tend to her since there may have been a virgin or another queen in the hive (hence the quacking). That's the hope any way. I think this also makes me want to think more about direct releasing after 2-4 days, like you mentioned doing. I may try that next time. I'm looking forward to looking for the queen, assuming one is in there! I'll practice marking her if I can spot her .. and catch her! Anyways, thanks again!
Just curious, Why would you have the cage in your hive for 5 days with the cork in?
It was a laying working colony, and I heard they would take longer to accept a caged queen. Maybe it was too long!
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