Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Observed something weird today- I was performing a final inspection on my weakest nuc (which I assumed was queenless by now as it was a small split just before the freezing period we had here in May and it was a long shot that they would make their own queen) when on the second pass I found short/slim virgin queen, the timing was about right for her to be mated and start laying, but of course few days one way or the other is normal, so I marked her, closed the nuc and walked away.
An hour or so later I saw her taking short flights in front of the hive with small entourage of bees, so I assumed she is planning to go mating, but this went on for about 8 hours (12PM-8PM) with no changes- she would try to enter hive every few minutes and would not be allowed by the bees inside, her "own" bees (about 30 or so) formed a cluster over her periodically and then again she would try to walk into the hive or fly a circle around and land on the entrance hole (one small entrance in this box). Now it is almost dark and I can see a very tiny cluster under the hive near the ground where the queen is.
There is no way she will live through the night as the area is fiercely patrolled by all kind of predators (skunks, possums, raccoons). What could explain this strange behavior? If bees had another queen, I would have not found this one in the hive - all queen cells were hatched ~2 weeks ago. If they have no queen why would they not allow this one back in? Even if she is defective or something, it is not like they have any choice...
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,548 Posts
so I marked her, closed the nuc and walked away.
Never a good idea to mark a virgin queen. The paint made her smell different and her pheromones were not strong enough yet to overcome the smell of the paint. Had a newly laying queen that I marked and the bees killed her as soon as I put her back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Never a good idea to mark a virgin queen. The paint made her smell different and her pheromones were not strong enough yet to overcome the smell of the paint. Had a newly laying queen that I marked and the bees killed her as soon as I put her back.
OK, thanks. Another lesson learned... Now I see they managed to survive the night clustered under the hive (cluster half size of a fist). They no longer attempt to re-enter the hive, should I try to cage her an put her back into the hive or is that a vain effort at this point? The hive has been queenless overnight, so maybe now they will take her as new queen? I don't think there is anything to lose at this point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
It is interesting to observe now that the cluster with "exile" queen is growing slowly. I will leave them be and monitor the progress during the day. Is it possible they will swarm away or would they attempt to re-enter the hive with large enough force?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,324 Posts
Never a good idea to mark a virgin queen. The paint made her smell different and her pheromones were not strong enough yet to overcome the smell of the paint. Had a newly laying queen that I marked and the bees killed her as soon as I put her back.
Echo that. The same thing has happened to me - so now - whenever a queen is removed from a hive (for whatever reason) and returned to it, she spends 24 hrs in a roller cage and is only released if all appears well.
LJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
OK, I forced their hand- added her back into the hive in the cage (solid cap), will see what happens in 24H.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,548 Posts
Good call. I was going to suggest a queen clip on top of the frames and a shim to provide space. They should take her back. Keep in mind she may yet not be mated. I would not leave her in the cage for more than a day or two at most.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
OK, just to close the thread- the queen was accepted back, mated and is laying fine now (checked today). Hopefully someone else can also learn from my stupid mistake and not mark the virgin queen, or if rejection happens, just forcefully reintroduce her back in the cage.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,548 Posts
A sastifactory resolution is always a good thing. Glad it all worked out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,075 Posts
Thanks Dexter for finishing the thread with a nice conclusion. Learned something I didn't know before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
361 Posts
Two years ago I had a yellow queen trying to get into one of my hives that had a darker queen that was in the box in mid summer. Same thing small ball of bees with a queen inside on the landing board and a bunch of unhappy bees around. I thought the same thing but why does a very weak swarm try to get into an established hive since I had a good queen in the box. I put her inthe box and she was killed in a blink.

I wish bees were like the "fire" ants with Many multiple queens though the literature shows some hives with two queens. My hives may be like that here just north of Houston. I started with Baton Rogue Sanitary queens and now have?? The remind me of what bees I had growing up Italians and fairly aggressive. I guess the good thing is they are mean but fairly mite resistant bees which is what it takes to be feral bees in my area and there are quite a few different assorted bees around.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top