Goings on in the observation hive

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BeeKeyPlayer

From Rainham, Medway (North Kent) UK
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Perhaps this should be in What did you do at the apiary today, but as the apiary in this case is an observation hive, and there's not thread for that, I thought I'd share this experience here.

The bees have in the hive a few weeks now. They were initially queenless and there was one cell. Only one. That queen emerged, piped (tooted) for a few days, really quite insistently, apparently desperate for a quacking reply, but got none. Eventually the bees got fed up doing nothing, and one warm sunny day, they swarmed. My wife saw this.

So then the colony were hopelessly queenless. I gave them a cell. Then I gave them a virgin queen. Then I gave them a frame of open brood. All to no avail.

A couple of days ago I gave them a mated queen. They were very interested in this queen in the cage. I took the flap off yesterday and had a look this morning. The queen was not in the cage. I scooped up a nearby ball of bees on the floor of the hive. The queen was inside, apparently unharmed, but very keen to escape. I took her away, coated her in honey, and returned her. The balling bees continued where they had left off.

So now I have the queen back in the cage and will find somewhere else for her.

This colony seems determined to believe they have their own means of making a new queen!
 
Perhaps this should be in What did you do at the apiary today, but as the apiary in this case is an observation hive, and there's not thread for that, I thought I'd share this experience here.

The bees have in the hive a few weeks now. They were initially queenless and there was one cell. Only one. That queen emerged, piped (tooted) for a few days, really quite insistently, apparently desperate for a quacking reply, but got none. Eventually the bees got fed up doing nothing, and one warm sunny day, they swarmed. My wife saw this.

So then the colony were hopelessly queenless. I gave them a cell. Then I gave them a virgin queen. Then I gave them a frame of open brood. All to no avail.

A couple of days ago I gave them a mated queen. They were very interested in this queen in the cage. I took the flap off yesterday and had a look this morning. The queen was not in the cage. I scooped up a nearby ball of bees on the floor of the hive. The queen was inside, apparently unharmed, but very keen to escape. I took her away, coated her in honey, and returned her. The balling bees continued where they had left off.

So now I have the queen back in the cage and will find somewhere else for her.

This colony seems determined to believe they have their own means of making a new queen!
Interesting so far!
I had trouble last season with a colony that was perpetually balling queens. In the end I relented and gave them brood to let them make their own and that worked, but the whole process took a long time....
They are doing well now.
Do please post any other observations of note.
 
Postscript:

I returned to the obs hive this afternoon to introduce my mated queen again, this time with a 5x4" push-in cage on a new frame of brood with space to lay. I removed a frame, inserted the new one, closed up, and then had a look at the frame I'd removed.

A small virgin was on the frame. She flew off as soon as she got alarmed. It will be something else I'll learn to see what happens if/when she returns.

Well done to anyone reading my post above who restrained themselves from posting 'Are you really sure there isn't a queen in the hive?'
 
Apart from the fact there was a virgin queen there, the fact you went back in the day after introducing a queen will also often lead them to ball the queen.
Newly introduced queens are prone to being balled if you disturb the hive so soon after introduction! Best to leave well alone for 5/6 days.
 
The thing that stopped me posted 'are you sure' was not self restraint but that I've only just spotted this thread! Glad you managed to get an obs hive.
 
Newly introduced queens are prone to being balled if you disturb the hive so soon after introduction! Best to leave well alone for 5/6 days.
I agree, and I'm doing that with my bought BS queen. But removing the glass panel in an obs hive where I could see what was happening is a bit different.
 

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