One of those days

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by PerryBee, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I was out pulling a few nucs today and was on the last one when I happened to notice something weird.
    I have two nucs that I was letting raise their own queens (I checked last week and found virgins running around in both).
    I happened to glance at one and noticed a pile of bees huddled underneath one of them. I immediately thought, hey, I just read about this happening on a thread here recently and the popular theme was that there would be a queen under there somewhere. (no screened bottom in the nuc though). I lifted the nuc and set it aside and there was a cantelope sized cluster there on the ground. I started to move them onto a box I had and when I thought I had most of them I dumped them into the top of the nuc. I started to replace the frames I had removed when I noticed a "ball" of bees on the bottom of the nuc. I firgured they may be balling the queen so I lowered my hive tool and disturbed the ball. The bees ran onto a frame which I then picked out of the nuc and sure enough, there was a queen, not looking so much like a virgin anymore. Clearly she was agitated and runny so I started walking with the frame towards my truck to put it in another empty nuc box while I figured out what to do. I watched her on the frame and only took my eyes off her long enough to take the lid off the empty nuc and.......you guessed it, could not find her anywhere! :shock:
    My guess is she took flight during that second or two I took my eyes off the frame. I don't know if she would go back to where I found her but considering the treatment she received there I doubt it. :cry:
    Why was this cluster under the nuc? Did she go out for mating flights and got confused and set up shop under the nuc? Why did the bees in the nuc react that way to her when I dumped her in?
    Why does my head hurt after stuff like this happens?
    This was not one of those textbook days, I feel helpless during these moments, not sure of what the heck to do.
    Queens arrive tomorrow, hope it's a better day! :roll:
     
  2. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    are you sure just by chance there may have been a 2nd queen in the nuc. Just a thought
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    If this nuc was from a split and had two or more queen cells in it then I would say there was and extra queen in the box.

    Is there any eggs in the nuc or the comb under the nuc? that would tell the tale.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    No comb under, no eggs in the box yet. (I think it was a recent developement).
    When I checked last week there was only one virgin queen, but thinking about it now, I kinda stopped looking after I found her and closed it up. You fellas could be right, maybe this was a second one looking for another home.
    Funny once you set off for a spell how some of these things come to mind, but at the time I was drawing a blank as to my next step. (insert pickle barrel and sharpest knife jokes here).
    I figured setting the frame she was on in an empty nuc box would give me the time to collect my thoughts and figure out a course of action but I guess she had other ideas. I have read too many threads of queens flying off to hold out much hope she went back to the nuc so I guess I'll hold out hope there is another one in there anyway.
    :beg:
    Weird how something so trivial ruined what was otherwise a fairly decent outing.
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I know what you mean, one day I hunted frames over and over in a five frame nuc, there was eggs in the comb and the bees were very gentle. Just happened to look down and she was walking around on my pant leg, geesh.
     
  6. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    thats what i'd think..there was another queen there someplace...they can dissapear like ninjas sometimes...kinda erks me...i just went to mark one of mine and she was gone...an i just saw her the day before...i have a queen bee eating bird around here someplace...in the last month i've replaced all of my queens cause they all just vanished...even the marked queens i bought to replace them...glad they laid some eggs before ''whatever'' happened to them...so i got plenty of queens back and now only that one is missing...hmmmm
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    it is these kind of thinks that make me believe that 'balling the queen' doesn't necessarily mean what folks think it means. I myself think it is some kind of response to stress and therefore sometimes the queen is killed and sometimes not and that really is more a matter of unintended consequence than a defined purpose by the bees.

    I would suspect the queen is headed back to the original box. with mating boxes you see this happen quite often. sometimes the little ball of bees will be on the ground and sometimes on the side or under the nuc boxes themselves. it is likely one of those occasions (I suspect) when just leavin' stuff to sort itself out is the best policy.
     
  8. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Tecumseh, you are probably right. I know that I read somewhere in beekeeping the thought that 'When in doubt of what to do...........do nothing."
    At least things would have played out the way they were meant to I suppose. I feel badly when I intervene and then worry I may have just made things worse. Probably an all too common beekeeping manouver.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think you are making an excellent point here Perry that sometimes deciding how to 'do no harm' is the best operational policy.

    As to you circumstance give it a day or so and there is a good possibility that the queen that you though you had captured made it back home anyway.

    the best of luck to ya'