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Author Topic: The Queen is Dead and I'm Panicked - What should I do?  (Read 5993 times)
tillie
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« on: January 06, 2008, 04:12:15 PM »

I went out to look at the hives today because there was a lot of activity.  It is in the high 60s after a week of lows in the teens and highs in the 40s.  Lots of dead bees are scattered in the leaves on the deck.  I took pictures and brought them in to look at them on the computer.  With the computer, I suddenly recognized that my hive that barely made it through last winter had what looked like a dead queen in front of the hive:



So I ran out and brought the leaf in and turned the dead bee over and took her picture:



Most definitely my queen with a little of her white paint dot still on her back.  She appears to have no wings - is that significant?

What do I do?  It's January - no drones - how will the hive make it at this point?  If I could find a queen somewhere to purchase, can you put a queen in the hive in the winter?

Help!!!!!

Linda T panicked in Atlanta
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sean
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2008, 04:24:13 PM »

i am not the most knowledgeble but do you have another hive that you can merge it with assuming that the bees arent dying because of any pests/diseases. when it has  built up enough then you split it
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Gail Di Matteo
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2008, 04:33:17 PM »

Wow Linda. I have no advice for you, but I feel for you. Best of luck with this hive.

Gail
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2008, 04:50:36 PM »

I wonder if there is another queen inside and this one has been ousted. Hence the missing wings?
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2008, 04:54:07 PM »

i don't think theres much you can do this time of year. if theres still a lot of bees in the hive and you can find a mated queen to install in early February they might make it. Not sure where you could find one though. Sorry you're having such a rough bee year.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2008, 05:06:28 PM »

http://www.HawaiianQueen.com/    If you have at least five frames of bees -at this time and your location-give them a new queen -it is posible  cool
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2008, 05:13:36 PM »

http://www.HawaiianQueen.com/    If you have at least five frames of bees -at this time and your location-give them a new queen -it is posible  cool
sorry they have a minumum if they wont try these guys they will sell one                                                           http://www.konaqueen.com/order.html      RDY-B
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pdmattox
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2008, 05:16:26 PM »

I would also say you could requeen now with no problem.  Sorry I don't have any of my queens from hawaii yet(couple of weeks away).
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2008, 05:17:56 PM »

It's quite likely they went into winter with two queens and have now decided to get rid of the older one.  That's actually more likely than them losing their only queen.  Of course it's possible that was their only queen.
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kathyp
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2008, 05:18:48 PM »

have you any brood in the hive?   have they made queen cells?  are you sure there is not another queen in there?  i don't know how long a virgin queen can stay unmated, but with your climate i'd think you'd have drones early?  
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tillie
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2008, 05:20:42 PM »

The bees are bringing in pollen - about every 10th bee or so has full pollen baskets - full of what I don't know although perhaps the red maple is starting to bloom.  Doesn't that indicate that there are probably baby bees in there?

The lack of wings probably means she's been dead a while, wouldn't you think?

I'm going to put a ziploc feeder bag on the hive to keep their spirits up.  Because of work I can't look into the hive until next weekend provided we continue to have warming weather.

Linda T in Atlanta
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2008, 06:44:25 PM »

>Doesn't that indicate that there are probably baby bees in there?

I've seen them haul plenty of pollen when they were queenless.  I wouldn't consider it proof of anything.
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2008, 08:21:20 PM »

Linda, 
  I just wanted to say how sad I feel for you and your bees.
 I dont know enough to offer any advice on whats happening...Sorry..
 But Maybe there still IS a queen in there, like Michael said.
 Good luck.
your friend,
john
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2008, 10:16:32 PM »

If they are bringing in pollen, is it warm enough to look inside?
I would look for eggs or very young larvae and queen cells.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2008, 10:21:11 PM »

I just have to bring up the possibility of a take over swarm.  I seen swarms of bees take over the hive of a weak colony.  These were Italians, in a AHB area It would be more likely, and the missing wings is a way of insuring that an ousted queen can't return to the hive.
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annette
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« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2008, 10:28:19 PM »

Linda

When I looked at that queen bee, my heart just sank for you. I feel your pain. This is a tough hobby for sure. There are more experienced beekeepers here, so listen and see what you should do. Also, please keep us posted.

Yours
Annette

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tillie
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« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2008, 11:37:21 PM »

OK, so I guess from what I've now gotten from you all, I'm going to hope that Michael's thought that maybe they went into the winter with two queens and the old one is now dead may be the way it is until I prove otherwise.  So here's my current plan:

1.  I'm going to put food on the hive tomorrow morning.
2.  This coming weekend, weather permitting, I'm going to look into this hive to see what's what
3.  If there's no evidence of a queen, I'll order one from Hawaii or
4.  I'll combine this hive with my other hive

Let's say the queen that died is the only queen and the hive is now queenless.  I guess I should have requeened in the fall.  This queen was a 2006 queen that I got with a nuc in April 2006.  Given that I didn't raise her and she didn't come from the Purvis Brothers or another hygienic queen group, I could assume that she would not have a long life and should have addressed this preventively by replacing her in the fall of 2007.

I had trouble picking up the body of this queen - I don't mean I was squeamish - I mean it was difficult to pick her up.  I have no idea how I could do that if she were alive.  I believe to requeen, you have to find the queen, pick her up and take her out of the hive and pinch off her head.  When I can't pick up a lifeless body, how in the world will I pick up one that's on the run in the hive?Huh  Is there some product sold to make this easier?

So do you all agree, that I probably should have requeened in the fall of 2007?

Linda T trying to learn from this and all my many bee catastrophes!
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Cindi
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« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2008, 12:07:56 AM »

Linda, such a bummer, you have had a tough year this one eh?  But think of all the learning curves.  I feel sorry for you and my heart goes out (thank goodness for us woman bleeding hearts eh? hee, hee).  I think that if you had the queens in 06 that you should have requeened in the fall of 07.  But that is what I would have done.  Some keep queens longer.  But a young strong, prolific queen going into wintertime to begin with massive brooding in the spring is the way to go.  That is how I will always look at things.  Not to say that I am 100% correct, but it makes sense to me.

You are a busy woman.  I hear your lifestyle and you are a hard working soul.  You do as much as you can for your bees, we know that.  But sometimes work and the bees just don't coincide that well.  Just keep on doing what you are doing.  You are still doing a great job, you may not think so, but I do and I am sure others do too.

When you said to try and catch the queen to pinch off her head.  I think that is an expression.  I remember once some time ago asking why someone would pinch of the queen's head to kill her, and they just said that it was an expression.  When I kill queens, I catch them (they are not that hard, you should try practising this, like on drones, the lazy boys of the colony, ooops, I am gonna get blasted for this one, hee, hee) and I place the queen into a little jar of rubbing alcohol.  She dies immediately, right now, and I don't have to feel bad about squishing her.  I don't really think that I would pinch off her head though.  If I had to something right away without the rubbing alcohol nearby, I would probably step on her and cover her up quickly with some earth or something.  I don't know, but that sounded good to me. 

When you have time next weekend.  Focus on this hive if you can and the weather is permissable.  Look really closely for any eggs and/or brood, that would be your sure sign this queen was one that was ousted from the hive.  That makes sense to me.  I think that the workers bit off her wings to get her out of the colony so the other queen could reign.  My thoughts on your situation.

Keep your chin up, remember, you are doing all that you can, and that is a good thing.  Now go and have a good day, Cindi
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tillie
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« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2008, 02:57:45 PM »

When I had 20 minutes to be at the hive today I drove home and opened it up.  (ridiculous - I drive home 24 minutes and back to the office 24 more minutes for 20 minutes at the hive!!)  Inside there were tons of bees.  I have pictures on my blog.  There were plenty of honey stores and they had hardly touched the sugar syrup I put on before Christmas.  If the hive is queenless, at least there are plenty of bees to last for a while until I can
1.  Determine if there is a queen
2.  And then decide (if queenless) to
     a.  Order and get another queen
       or
     b.  Combine this hive with my other hive.

The bees in the possibly queenless hive are mostly Russian - the queen was from Russian stock. 

I also opened my other hive for comparison.  They have much fewer bees and also had not eaten the syrup from before Christmas.  I could see lots of stores in that hive as well.  It's mostly an Italian hive - the queen is about twice as big as the Russian queen who died.  Since that hive doesn't seem to be thriving as well as the hive which lost its queen, I am concerned about it as well.

Linda T with something always to worry about when it comes to bees!
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« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2008, 03:16:41 PM »

Did you get a chance to see any brood?

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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