View Full Version : Queen playing opossum?

Sep 3rd 2009, 11:55 AM
I went through my queen castle to see if the queen cells I put in there had emerged, mated and were now laying. Out of the four I had in there they were all laying great patterns. I was pleased as it was my first try but I only found and marked 2 though. What has left me very confused was that one that I caught seemed to almost die. I work my bees with bare hands and when I see an unmarked queen I will reach in the and gently pick them up by the wings. Once I have them removed and I've set down the frame they were on, I let them loose in my hand to paint them. I've done this over a dozen times with no problems.

This queen curled up in a very tight "C" very quickly and didn't stuggle. I didn't think anything of it as I set the frame in the holder (10 to 15 seconds). I released her into my hand and she laid there like she was dead. I gently moved her around in my hand with my finger and blew on her to try to get some/any response for about a minute or so. I went ahead and painted her, I could see that she was at least sporatically breathing at this point. I figured it won't make the situation any worse and at least she's holding still. After another couple of minutes she began try to stand up and take some halting steps.

I released her onto the top of a frame where she was quickly surrounded by her workers, one of which began offering he food. She kept eating from this bee and seemed to be stretching her limbs and abdomen for about 30 seconds. She slowly turned and went down between the frames.

What just happened? Any ideas?

Sep 3rd 2009, 12:46 PM
Only guessing, but I would say shock. Many animals will go into shock when stressed. Most will recover within minutes, but I have known them to die.

I have personally seen it in horses, goats and rabbits. Possums are well known for it. So bad, it is referred to as "playing dead".