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Why did my bees move hive?

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kevbhoney 

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Hi, just a bit puzzled over this... last weekend I checked my bees ready for the winter. One hive had no eggs/larva and only a few sealed brood left. I couldn't find the queen, which was marked but not clipped. Approx' 8 frames of bees, strong colony with plenty of stores but not yet fully sealed. My conclusion was she wasn't there!
I had an empty hive next to this hive with 3 frames of drawn foundation in. I saw saw bees entering the hive. I thought it was bees just clearing perhaps some remaining honey from the frames but I opened it up to see. I was very surprised to discover my marked queen from hive No1 next door which was missing. She had about 3/4 cups of bees with her. She was not laying and after rechecking 5 days later she was still is not laying.
What happened? Is this a case of abandment from her hive and only I left the spare hive out she lodged there? Lucky, perhaps, because I don't normally leave an empty hive out in September. Her old hive has been united with a weaker colony which was queen right and laying.
Any comments for me to understand why this has happened . I have had previous incidents (on 1st spring inspection)where the queen has been missing following my last inspection in autum. thanks Kevin:willy_nilly:
 

wightbees 

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How long is a piece of string
I'm no expert but it sounds like a small swarm that liked it next door.
 

Stiffy 

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Hi, just a bit puzzled over this... last weekend I checked my bees ready for the winter. One hive had no eggs/larva and only a few sealed brood left. I couldn't find the queen, which was marked but not clipped. Approx' 8 frames of bees, strong colony with plenty of stores but not yet fully sealed. My conclusion was she wasn't there!
I had an empty hive next to this hive with 3 frames of drawn foundation in. I saw saw bees entering the hive. I thought it was bees just clearing perhaps some remaining honey from the frames but I opened it up to see. I was very surprised to discover my marked queen from hive No1 next door which was missing. She had about 3/4 cups of bees with her. She was not laying and after rechecking 5 days later she was still is not laying.
What happened? Is this a case of abandment from her hive and only I left the spare hive out she lodged there? Lucky, perhaps, because I don't normally leave an empty hive out in September. Her old hive has been united with a weaker colony which was queen right and laying.
Any comments for me to understand why this has happened . I have had previous incidents (on 1st spring inspection)where the queen has been missing following my last inspection in autum. thanks Kevin:willy_nilly:
Was the queen from hive 1 a new queen ? If so I would hazard a guess that she went on another mating flight and returned to the wrong hive and bees were then attracted to her.
Cheers
S

BTW still find a few drones in my hives but am in far SW
 

Midland Beek 

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I'm no expert but it sounds like a small swarm that liked it next door.
I'll go with that. Sometimes during supersedure a small swarm can leave with the old queen. Or a large swarm for that matter.

We are assuming you didn't drop the queen or something like that during an inspection and crawled into the empty hive.

You say that you united the old hive to one that was queenright and laying. Only you will note that the old hive probably had a virgin queen in it.
 

kevbhoney 

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Thanks for your replies.Ive' spoken with a local keeper who says it's possible that after feeding them the Q had no where to lay and moved. Didn't see any Q cells when I was looking for her initally. Thanks for the comments. Just wondering now if I have 2 Q's in one hive where I united bees with Q layer hive. Well time has past nowso I suppose they have sorted it out themselves!!
thanks Kevin
 

Midland Beek 

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Just wondering now if I have 2 Q's in one hive where I united bees with Q layer hive.
That doesn't happen, one queen will kill the other. A virgin queen has very likely killed your mated and egg laying queen, meaning there is now no queen in your hive capable of laying fertile eggs. Nevertheless, you can watch your colony die out before your eyes.
 
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Or not as the case may be - it isn't always worst case scenario...
 

WI-USA-BEEK 

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On occasion your queen will drop off a frame while your are inspecting it and you will not have the slightest clue what just happened. Only two months back or so when I was inspecting a colony, a small clump of bees fell of a frame when I pulled it out and I felt them hit my boot. I normally dont even look when this happens but since this was a nuc I just made with a marked queen I took a look quick just to make myself fell better that they queen was not one of them. Well what I saw scared me half to death. There was my marked queen crawling in the grass. Luckily I was able to grab here and get here to crawl back in hive on third attempt. She attempted to fly but must have been to fat. After this I wondered how many times has this happened without myself having a clue?

My point is that maybe this happened and she went into empty box and a few bees joined her. That small of a swarm does not make sense to me.

Just an Idea. This is probably just one of those times you just will never know what really happened.
 

kevbhoney 

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Thanks, I'll do a final check in the next couple of weeks and see if she is still laying in the united colony. Fingers crossed.
 

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