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beesrus 

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Hi
I attempted to recombine 2 colonies today after an AS a month ago. I have a good laying queen in one hive so went through the other hive to locate and dispatch the queen who is not laying. When I located her I noticed some rather peculiar behaviour. I have observed mated queens and they seem to just get on with it, busying themselves with laying eggs and checking cells. However this queen, presumably a virgin, was clearly trying to avoid my attempts to keep her visible using my hive tool. She was moving away from the hive tool as I was trying to keep her in view and attempting to 'hide' under workers or get out of sight around the other side of the frame. It was really interesting to watch as she was clearly fearful and demonstrating a will for self preservation. When I finally got her out of the hive in a little box she began to make a loud buzzing noise as if she was signalling to the workers. After I had manipulated the hives to recombine I set about the task of dispatching the captured queen. Literally as soon as I opened the box to dispatch her she shot into the air and flew back inside the hive before in had a chance to react. Decided in the interest of time and with the weather closing in to give her another chance so we'll see in a weeks time how she's getting on.

Just wanted to share my experience.

BeesRus
 

joolsp 

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Not quite sure I understand. Were you recombining with paper?
So the virgin queen and the other are now together (and presumably one is dead?)
Or did you halt the recombining?
Am I being thick?
 

kazmcc 

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By despatching the naughty queen, do you mean squishing her? Also, won't the laying queen get the workers to kill that one now?

Are there any books on bee behaviour? I have just downloaded " at the hive entrance " which I assume is about the behaviour of bees outside of the hive. Is there anything about the behaviour of bees inside the hive? Or does this book cover that a little too? Questions, questions lol
 

beesrus 

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Halted the recombining.... Didn't have the time to go through the brood frames again to find her.
 

keithgrimes 

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By despatching the naughty queen, do you mean squishing her? Also, won't the laying queen get the workers to kill that one now?

Are there any books on bee behaviour? I have just downloaded " at the hive entrance " which I assume is about the behaviour of bees outside of the hive. Is there anything about the behaviour of bees inside the hive? Or does this book cover that a little too? Questions, questions lol
yes he means squishing her. Best not to let two queens fight it out as it can lead to fatalities and damage to the queen you want to keep. 'At the Hive Entrance' by Storch is a classic work on assessing whats going on inside the hive by observation outside the hive. A recommended read for every bee keeper.
 

barratt_sab 

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Kazmcc

Storch is brilliant, but it will mean you spend even more time sitting watch them!

For a book about bee behaviour, try this:
The Buzz about Bees: Biology of a Superorganism by Jürgen Tautz

I'd look in the library first, as it's quite expensive - GBP22 on Amazon, but they do have ‘look inside’ for this book, so you can see the contents.
It's written by academics, so it's a bit heavy going, but completely fascinating.

Some examples:

The authors suggest that the bee dances are targeted at resonant frequencies of the comb (which seems quite likely to me) so they are detected at longer ranges across the comb. However, they go on to assert that the holes that bees make in the comb are “designed” to improve the resonant qualities of framed comb!

They also suggest that there is evidence that bees alter the temperature at which individual brood cells are kept to influence the activities that the resulting bees are suited for (hotter brood = smarter bee = forager etc).

They say that whilst all bees go through the series of activities (cleaner to forager etc) and can also revert to an earlier task if required (e.g. forager back to nurse in a swarm) some bees seem to be designed to be particularly good at one activity (foraging in particular) and these bees act as pioneers for the rest.

I'm sure this is common knowledge for experienced keepers, but was new to me and I was left with a distinct "Brave New World" feeling…

Stephen
 

kazmcc 

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I will certainly look for this book Stephen, thank you. These bees are amazing little critters aren't they. The taster course was on the 1st July, and the amount I have learnt in that short time is huge :) The thing that amazes me is my memory is very bad, due to medication.....but I have had no trouble at all memorizing everything I have learnt about bees.

The more I learn, the more respect I have for these creatures, and their complex goings on
 

Silly Bee 

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However this queen, presumably a virgin, was clearly trying to avoid my attempts to keep her visible using my hive tool. She was moving away from the hive tool as I was trying to keep her in view and attempting to 'hide' under workers or get out of sight



This I believe is normal behaviour. The don't like the light and head for a dark place.
 

barratt_sab 

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This I believe is normal behaviour. The don't like the light and head for a dark place.
Isn't this also the idea behind pairing frames and leaving gaps between to find the queen as a last resort (thereby reducing the number of sides / frames being searched)?
 

Silly Bee 

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I believe so, sheilding the BB with a cloth can help too, as she heads for the darker places.
 

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