Queen outside hive body?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by arkiebee, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Can someone enlighten me on what's going on? Yesterday I pulled honey, I put the wet super on the hives late in the afternoon. I went out there just now to see how things are going and on one of my hives the bees had the super almost covered. I put on long sleeves and took my smoker out there and I gently smoked them so I could see if maybe I didn't get the cover on good enough. as I smoked them I saw a "ball" of bees (on the outside of the super) and as I feared - inside that ball was a queen. I gently put her on the end of my bee brush and put it at the entrance and I think she went back inside. I don't even know if she came from that hive? I checked and I did have the cover on properly, but they are still buzzing that super so I closed down the entrance quite a bit (I already had it down to 1/2) and I sprinkled them with the hose thinking it was a robbing frenzy - but that is a strong hive anyway. Before I sprinkled them, I made sure I didn't see a "ball" of bees on the outside. Why would a queen be on the outside?

    I had never seen this happen before?
     
  2. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    was there any brood up in the supers or did you have queen excluder on. My thought would be that when you was removing honey supers you may have shacken the queen out of the hive. She may or may not have come from the hive she was on
     

  3. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    No there was no brood in the frames that I took because I took a frame at a time and as I brushed the bees off I made sure that there was no brood on them. And I didn't have a queen excluder anywhere.

    Just now I came in from the bee yard (it's quite dark now) and I can put my ear up to the hive body and I hear the usual humming activity in there, but I almost put my head up against a cluster of bees that have clustered outside that super. I bet there are about a thousand bees clustered together outside that super at the top. I just wondered if the bees from my other hives got the smell of honey and tried to rob that hive? I wondered if somehow they got my queen out of there? But I did get her on my bee brush and I placed it at the entrance and I am almost sure she went inside. I reduced that entrance to about an inch - should I take that off and reduce it to about 1/2 the length of the hive body - like it was before? Maybe these are guys that couldn't get back in before dark because I had the hole so small?

    Tomorrow they should have cleaned out the cells and I can take those supers off. (about 2 days to do that??) When I get to that hive I may just have a look-see down in there and see if I can see my queen.

    Surely they would not have been trying to swarm would they?
    Oh the bee world - right when I think I have done things right - they throw me a curve! :confused:
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    It sounds like the lid isn't fitting tightly and they are getting in at the top. I would double check that.
     
  5. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I did check that when I went out there today, and they could go up under the lid, but they can't get through because of the inner cover. But Iddee why would my queen be outside?

    I just came in from there and this time I took my husband with me and he didn't think that there were about 1/2 as many bees as I thought that were clustered on the outside. I just shut down ALL entrances to my hives to no bigger than an inch.

    Did I do wrong by trying to take honey this time of year? We have a fall flow on, but it has been dry the last week and i was wondering if I made my mistake there?
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    arkie bee writes:
    But Iddee why would my queen be outside?

    tecumseh:
    I ain't Iddee but my guess would be..

    1) you dislodged the queen when you took off the honey and she fell to the ground. queens (no matter what the color) a lot of times can act a bit like dizzy blonds and finding their way back home can be a problem. the average queen can craw very fast but typically flies poorly, so getting back to the front door can be a problem.

    2)when you removed the honey you smoked the hive a good deal at the top of the hive and the queen slithered out the front door. often time the queen may even crawl under the bottom board to escape the smoke. she was trying to find the front door after the confusion and smoke.

    either 1 or 2 could happen at any time no matter what season you take the honey. if you left enough (and at the end of the season this question is easier to answer than at any other time of the year) there was nothing inappropriate or incorrect about your decision to harvest some of the crop for yourself.

    I suspect (don't know and yes a totally speculative notion) that the workers forming around the queen may be a form of protection when the hive is feeling very threatened.

    You did exactly the right thing in using the bee brush to scoop up the queen back at the front door. sometime queens can get so confused that it may take them days to find the front door again which can be lethal if the weather turns against you.
     
  7. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    THANK YOU TECH - that makes so much sense to me now. I was so afraid I had caused something major to happen and the bees had decided to leave?And now that makes me even more cautious because if she was outside on the ground, I could have easily stepped on her. She was a young queen because she wasn't as big as I have seen queens so she probably didn't have much sense as to how to get back into the hive. When I go out this afternoon and see if I can take that super off I will check down in there - or maybe - I'll just judge it as to how the hive is acting - to check on her.

    Those wet supers have been on two days today - they can clean out a super that quick can't they? Or should I wait till tomorrow afternoon?
    Before I take it off, I'll pull every frame and make sure the queen is NOT there before I set it off. I usually set them off - if they are dry - and go out about dark when all the bees are back in the hive and pick them up.
    I was out there just now - temps in the 50s - and that little cluster of bees is still there - they are hunkered up to each other a little closer - bet they wish they were in their warm bed last night instead of hanging on the outside of a super.
     
  8. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    THE ADVISE I GET FROM THIS FORUM IS THE REASON I HAVE STAYED IN BEES - THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR VALUABLE INFORMATION!!
     
  9. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    And theres people out there that say there is no such thing as free. :D
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Tec has covered it well. Probably better than i could. Thanks, Tec.
    No, it's not totally free. It requires input and hopefully the passing on in the future. It's what sets humans apart from animals....................................Sometimes............................
     
  11. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Just how much of an opening is ideal - or close to it - right now? I have closed mine up to about an inch and there is a lot of crowding outside the front. I closed it up because I thought they were robbing when in fact it may be orientation? I really have a hard time telling the difference. I do see some toss & tumble, but then I do see foragers coming in with all colors of pollen too - so I don't really know what to do about how big of an opening to leave this time of year?
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Just large enough to relieve the waiting to get in and out.
     
  13. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Iddee = I think I need to put you & Tech & some of the others wise ones on speed dial! I just came in from the beeyard (it's 5:00pm here) because I was going to take the supers off that the bees cleaned out. Well some have already started putting nectar in the cells again! I left them on since Friday afternoon and I didn't dare do it yesterday because I had to leave and because of the robbing situation I had going on. So now what do I do? Should I leave it there and let them fill it up - I don't think they will find enough to fill up another super, or do I take it off and set it FAR away from the beeyard and let them all rob it??? Your prompt advise will be helpful!!!???
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You should always put the inner lid under the supers you want cleaned out. I'm guessing you didn't. If not, do so.
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    3 minutes.... Is that close enough to speed dial?
     
  16. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    3 minutes - your good - I'll go out and do that now - I did not know that. So when can I take the supers off -? tomorrow afternoon??
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Depends on how fast they work. You can check tomorrow or Tues.
     
  18. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    OK - got it done! Thanks Again!
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Iddee writes:
    No, it's not totally free. It requires input and hopefully the passing on in the future. It's what sets humans apart from animals....................................Sometimes............................

    tecumseh and totally off topic..
    as I suspect some here know Iddee and I are about as opposite in regards to how we view politics as any two people of the same generation can be.

    the above snip pretty much hits the nail on the head as to how much the same the two of us are. I would have likely added that some folks hold what they know to their chest like some fine gem that need to be protected and some folks pass the rare stone about so everyone can hold it up to the light to see it's beauty.

    arkie bee writes:
    Well some have already started putting nectar in the cells again!

    tecumseh:
    I wouldn't worry about that so much, it simply means there is something still coming in. most likely not enough will come in the front door to cap, so they will also use this at the first opportunity.
     
  20. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I checked the supers and they still have not taken the nectar down below even though I put the inner cover below the super - they acted like they wanted me out of there because they had work to do - so I just left them. I'll check them tomorrow if I get back home at a decent time - (it's suppose to rain) if not I'll have to wait till the weekend. I may end up leaving the super on because we still have fall flowers blooming around here.

    What - cha - guys think???