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Author Topic: Queen flew off. will she return?  (Read 518 times)
chux
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« on: June 08, 2013, 05:14:00 PM »

I did my first cutout 3 weeks ago. Filled one lang deep with brood comb. Did not get the queen. Did get several swarm cells. (Assume queen had just left the colony before the cut out) Checked hive today to see if I had a queen from swarm cells. Yes. Two of the frames had a good bit of larvae. another had a few larvae. I guess she's just getting started good.

I spotted the queen. Oh joy. Oh stupid me. She had a mite on her back and before I thought about it, I reached out to see of I could remove it by hand. As soon as I touched the queen....she flew off low to the ground, about ten feet before I lost sight of her. Stupid rookie idiot thing to do...Got that.

I started to walk in that direction to find her, but saw visions of stepping on the queen in the grass and decided against it. What are the chances that she will return to the hive? This happened about 4 hours before dark. Should I be ordering a new queen on monday?

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millipede
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2013, 05:22:21 PM »

If you already have swarm cells, you should be ok. Check back in a few days and see if she came back.
I had a similar thing happen to me and I ended up having to replace the queen. Just keep and eye on the colony, watch for eggs and watch the swarm cells.
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chux
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 06:23:51 PM »

The swarm cells were present when I cut colony out of wall. All of them are long gone now. Number of bees is quite a bit lower than when installed. I think one of the other queens swarmed when she hatched. I dont think I have time for them to raise another queen from present larvae.
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Bees In Miami
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2013, 06:50:40 PM »

If she is still out on the ground, the bees should find her and form a ball of bees.  Keep looking....look for a small cluster. 
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2013, 07:10:29 PM »

As Bees in Miami said, if there is no ball of bees in the grass, she is in the hive.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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chux
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2013, 08:17:38 PM »

Thanks for the input folks. I guess I will get back in there monday and look for her. If I cant find her, guess ill have to find one from somebody else. I really hate to lose the dna though.
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Bees In Miami
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2013, 02:38:54 AM »

chux: if you are waiting until Monday, I guess the DNA doesn't mean all that much to you.  Just saying....

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chux
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2013, 05:47:04 AM »

Bees in miami: I think you misunderstand the situation. I do not want to lose this queen because she carries the dna from the colony. If I have to replace her, then the entire colony changes in a generation. I've essentially killed the colony. I made a mistake that a first year bee keeper should know not to make. And I'm sure the vast majority don't try to touch the queen. I knew better myself, but acted without thinking. That's when folks get into trouble most of the time. Acting or speaking or typing, without thinking first...

So what did I do? The queen flew off low to the ground. After she got about 10 feet away, I lost sight of her. I put the frame down and started to walk in that direction, but then stopped to think. "What if I don't see her in the taller grass and step on her?" "If I see her and try to approach, she may jump up and fly even farther away." "She may be watching me right now from a distance, and if the danger leaves, she may come back."

I decided, since I didn't know what to do, to go and ask someone who would know what to do, so that I didn't make a bad situation worse. I posted on the forum. Then I had the bright idea to call a master bee keeper and ask him personally. By the time I talked to him, about 45 minutes had gone by. Should have thought to call him first... He said she wouldn't come back, so I did what he told me to try. I went back out there and took a frame of bees over to the area I hoped the queen had flown to, about 20 yards from the hive, and shook the bees off on the ground. Waited to see if they gathered to the queen. They instead, went back to the hive. I proceeded to walk over every piece of ground in that area from the hive to a thick treeline, looking at every blade of grass and flower. Back and forth, methodically. No queen. Did that twice.

So the only thing I know to do at this point is wait until monday and check to see if she is back in there. There is nothing else I can do, bees in miami. I did pop the top one more time last night and look for the queen on the couple of brood frames. She wasn't there. Does no good to look again until Monday. She will either be back or she won't. I can't find her in the yard, after looking closely. How have I shown a disregard for the colony DNA? What else could I gave done, or do before Monday to locate the queen? If you know, please tell me. I've learned two lessons from this. 1) Never touch the queen....idiot me knew that but didn't think... 2) if the queen does fly off, immediately shake a frame in the area and watch to see if they go to her.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2013, 06:23:12 AM »

Crux,
If your queen has a mite on her and they do not remove it from her, then your bees will probably end up replacing her pretty soon any way.
I had a queen fly off of a frame while I was looking at it about 2 months ago. As I was putting the hive back together again, I found her on another frame. It was her because the hive was full of brood at various stages, from eggs on up.
Your queen knows where her hive is located and will return. Before you open this hive again, buy a queen catcher and use it to catch her. Take her into a small confined area and remove the mite. More than likely if she has good genetics, her bees will have removed the mite by the time you get in there.
When you get a chance, watch the bees on the landing board. Look fore bees that are giving other bees the third degree. They look like they are attacking the other bee. If you have good genetics, you will see the bee that is being attacked turn around to expose the other side. The attacking bee is doing an inspection to remove any mites. The same thing is happening inside the hive. I see this behavior in my observation hive all the time.
I never see mites on the bees but I do find one, about once a week, in the clean out trays.
Good luck.
Jim
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