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Author Topic: Strange Queen Behaviour  (Read 1393 times)
BusyBee
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« on: June 16, 2006, 01:27:29 AM »

A local commercial beekeeper (very well respected, well known in England) supplied me with a package of bees on 22 May. I understand this was a shook swarm and he supplied a new, marked queen in a cage.

Hived them, fed them ... left them alone. Dreadful weather for a few days ... cool (almost cold!) and wet.

First inspection on 30 May, when weather permitted. However, no sign of queen and no brood either - but the colony looked strong & healthy. Drawn comb, some pollen and some honey, all uncapped.

Inspected again on 6 June. Again no brood, but spotted the marked queen with an excellent retinue. She was on the floor of the hive and I thought nothing of it, thinking she'd fallen off as I removed a frame.

Inspected again yesterday. Still no brood! And the queen was STILL on the floor of the hive HuhHuh?

I managed to coax her onto a hive tool and placed her on a frame of drawn comb.

I've contacted the supplier. We've agreed that I'll inspect again on Sunday and if there are still no eggs, he'll replace the queen.

But I just wonder if anyone else has experienced anything like this. Why would the queen stay on the floor of the hive? huh

Any thoughts or musings on this peculiar situation most welcome.

Thanks
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2006, 06:54:01 PM »

>>Why would the queen stay on the floor of the hive?  

Disorientation, the same reason a queen often can't find her way back into a hive after she's been dropped outside.  
Was she stillin the same place like someone huddling in the corner or were there signs she had been moving about on the floor of the hive?

This may be a statement on the qulity of the queen so if supercedure cells show up once she starts laying don't be suprprised.
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BusyBee
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2006, 01:44:28 AM »

Quote from: Brian D. Bray
>>Why would the queen stay on the floor of the hive?  

Disorientation, the same reason a queen often can't find her way back into a hive after she's been dropped outside.  
Was she stillin the same place like someone huddling in the corner or were there signs she had been moving about on the floor of the hive?

This may be a statement on the qulity of the queen so if supercedure cells show up once she starts laying don't be suprprised.


Yep - she was in exactly the same place and yes! she did look huddled in the corner. Having said that, she did wander along the edge of the floor, from the rear to the front of the hive, and back again. And, as I said in my previous post, she had an excellent retinue of more than 10 workers with her.

I note the point about supercedure cells - thank you  Cheesy  I'm kinda expecting this as I do wonder if the queen is fully OK. I placed her on the frame of comb on Thursday ..... I'm expecting to find evidence of her laying today .... or, as you say, supercedure cells.

Odd though that there have been no supercedure cells already, as this package was hived on 22 May. That's why I wonder if the queen is emitting the right pheromones, to tell the colony she is OK. If she weren't surely they would have begun supercedure already? Although, it's always dangerous to try and predict what bees are doing  wink

Very fascinating stuff. I'll post back if there's anything interesting from today's inspection.

Very helpful to have your comments - any other comment most appreciated.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2006, 12:33:38 PM »

>>If she weren't surely they would have begun supercedure already? Although, it's always dangerous to try and predict what bees are doing

It is dangerous.  
If the queen ended up on the floor at the time she was released from the queen cage there would be probably be no eggs from which to make supercedure cells from.  If it were a nuc I would think they would have started some.

It might be possible that the queen has injured her feet and has trouble remaining on the comb--if so, there will definitely be supercedure cells in your future.
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2006, 12:48:19 PM »

Quote from: BusyBee
First inspection on 30 May, when weather permitted. However, no sign of queen and no brood either - but the colony looked strong & healthy. Drawn comb, some pollen and some honey, all uncapped.

Inspected again on 6 June. Again no brood, but spotted the marked queen with an excellent retinue. She was on the floor of the hive and I thought nothing of it, thinking she'd fallen off as I removed a frame.

Inspected again yesterday. Still no brood! And the queen was STILL on the floor of the hive HuhHuh?

I managed to coax her onto a hive tool and placed her on a frame of drawn comb.

I've contacted the supplier. We've agreed that I'll inspect again on Sunday and if there are still no eggs, he'll replace the queen.

But I just wonder if anyone else has experienced anything like this. Why would the queen stay on the floor of the hive? huh

Any thoughts or musings on this peculiar situation most welcome.

Thanks



if the queen isn't laying they want be able to replace her, either get another queen or add a frame of eggs and brood from another hive if you have another.....but that queen has to go if she's not producing, time is wasting...
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BusyBee
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2006, 06:04:53 PM »

Inspected today ... no eggs and the queen is back on the floor of the hive! cry

Will re-queen ......  cry

Thanks for your thoughts folks ... an odd one, but perhaps the queen is injured in some way.

Yes ... I need to get this hive right as soon as possible, otherwise it ain't gonna survive!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2006, 07:45:05 AM »

There is something wrong with her.  A mental problem?  An antenna problem?  Some kind of senses problem?
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Michael Bush
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BusyBee
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2006, 07:51:00 AM »

Quote from: Michael Bush
There is something wrong with her.  A mental problem?  An antenna problem?  Some kind of senses problem?


Indeed. Physically she looks good - beautiful, strong healthy. There is some concern in the UK that queens have started to display poor mating and/or laying abilities. A UK beekeeper is trying to do some research and you may find this article interesting http://www.bbka.org.uk/news/news/bbka/research-into-poor-queens.shtml

The supplier is replacing the queen - hopefully I can collect it tomorrow.

My only remaining question is .... how does one humanely kill the existing queen ... which I shall find very difficult (I shall almost certainly cry!!).

Thanks to all for your comments, help and support. I am, today, a very sad NewBee  cry
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2006, 09:16:01 PM »

Humane killing is done quickly.  A lingering death is considered cruel.  So if killing it with your hive tool bothers you drop in a jar and poor in a little alcohol.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
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