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Offline rgennaro

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Queen flew away!
« on: April 10, 2021, 02:50:12 pm »
I have had bees for 3 years now and I still make newbee mistakes. I picked my 2 packages up this morning. Installed the first one without a problem. Then I started installing the second one. The cages had a cork cover that had to be replaced with a mini marshmallow. The cork in the second cage was partly dislodged and while I was in the process of removing it and replacing it with the marshmallow the queen flew away. I was not too close to the hives. The bees were already in the hve box.

What to do?

I immediately called the store but they told me that everything they had in store today was spoken for, and to call back Monday. The other supplier I usually use has not received queens yet.

How long can they stay without a queen? The two hives are pretty close ... would the bees from one migrate to the other one? I don't have any brood frames to put in the queen-less hive.

thanks for any suggestion.

Offline rgennaro

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2021, 04:20:03 pm »
Update: I found the queen in a clump of grass. I noticed a small ball of bees and was wondering why they were so far away.

I debated if Ishould have released her directly in the hive, and I decided to put her in a queen cage instead. Unfortunately I think I hurt her while doing that. In any case she is in the hive and hopefully she will release enough pheromones to keep the bees in there. Hopefully I will be able to get another queen Monday.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2021, 04:26:17 pm »
Step 1.  Do not panic.  She is not going far.
Step 2.  Put the package of bees into the hive. Leave the top of the hive half way open. Pick up all your tools and stuff, get those away from the hive area and walk away.
Step 3.  Bee patient. Wait 30 to 40 minutes.
Step 4.  Quietly go back to the hive. Scan the ground and nearby shrubs as you approach. What you are looking for is a small clump of 10 to 50 bees.  She would be in there.  Cage her and proceed as usual.
Step 5.  If not found upon your approach, with very very minimal smoke quietly and gently look through the left open hive that the package was put in. Chances are very very high that you will see her walking about in there. If you see her walking, leave her to continue doing so. If you found her, quietly close the hive and walk away for a week.
Step 6.  If not found, goto the closest nearby hive and look through it for her.
Step 7.  If you still did not finder her, go back to Step 3. Have a sandwich while you wait some more. If she is not found by dusk, close the hive, but leave the lid propped up or slid off a bit. 
Step 8.  The following morning go back to step 4.
Step 9.  If she is not found by mid morning the following day, start thinking about ordering a new queen.

Hope that helps!

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Offline rgennaro

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2021, 07:10:35 pm »
Thanks THP.

Wish I had read this when it happened. Particularly the "do not panic". Anyway she's in there now, but I think hurt (i'll go check later). I think a new queen is needed.

So question: assuming I would not find the queen, how long could that hive go. They had honey and food in the box (frames I had saved from last year). Would have wednesday be too late (that seems the earliest I could get one). Now with the queen in there it's probably OK for a while.


Offline .30WCF

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2021, 09:09:36 pm »
They can go weeks without a queen especially if you give them some brood. They will try to raise a queen if you have a frame of eggs. You can let them raise one or just use that to buy some time


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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2021, 10:27:34 pm »
They can go weeks without a queen especially if you give them some brood. They will try to raise a queen if you have a frame of eggs. You can let them raise one or just use that to buy some time


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I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline rgennaro

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 08:08:59 am »
Yes but as i said in my original post i have no other hive right now ... My one hive from last year died and this year following advice from this board i am starting 2 exactly so that i can borrow frames from one if the other has issues

In any case i am happy to report that the queen is safe and sound in her cage inside the hive and that everything looks good now

Thanks everyone again

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Queen flew away!
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2021, 01:07:24 pm »
Just for hindsite, for others who may come into a situation of installing packages and have a dead queen or lost queen or cripple queen.
With no queen and no brood and a new to them smelling hive, comb or not, there is nothing holding the bees there.  What will happen is alot of drifting away into other nearby queenrite hives. Within a couple days the packaged hive is empty of resident bees and robbing is well underway.
When doing packages and without a queen for whatever reason the action to take is to combine the packages into one with a queen.  A double shake.  Let this bigger hive get established for 3 weeks.  When the brood starts emerging, then go take a split off it with another queen in your pocket to give the split.
It really is not a set back, other than the cost of another queen, as during that first 2weeks the queen they do have is going gangbusters. With much more bees of the double package, they are producing much more brood too. In this way you are getting that second hive started and well along by one queen and double the bees.
Though she is important, queen only lays the eggs. It is the bees that make bees.  More bees makes more bees makes more bees .....
Hope that is clear as what to do in that situation.  Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 02:32:02 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline rgennaro

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2021, 01:45:05 pm »
Thanks THP.  That's exactly the info I was after (what to do if I had not found the queen)

I placed a couple of phone calls yesterday to try to locate a new queen (unsuccesfully as everybody in the NorthEast is starting up this month) and I spoke with a very kind lady and her husband who own an apiary in PA. They advised me to do a newspaper combine and do a split in a few weeks (exactly what you are advising, except for the method of combining -- any comment on that?). I was prepared to work on that today.

While the box was new (I am experimenting with 8-frame boxes, last year my hive was 10-frame -- now I am doing one 10 frame and one 8 frame), the frames were from last year's hive and had lots of good honey. But I guess they would have drifted anyway to the other hive nearby with the queen in it.

thanks again -- I am so glad to this community for support.




Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2021, 02:27:59 pm »
Good
When dealing with packages and installing caged queens there is no need for newspaper. Just toss them all into the same box together or straight stack combine boxes. Packages are nothing more than shook swarms and have no allegiances. However, a couple weeks later when they are feeling homy with brood on the go and the queen is out walking around doing her thing, then yes absolutely use a slow combine method as newspaper then.

Sound like you got it figured out.  Happy beekeeping!
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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2021, 07:23:08 pm »
Just for hindsite, for others who may come into a situation of installing packages and have a dead queen or lost queen or cripple queen.
With no queen and no brood and a new to them smelling hive, comb or not, there is nothing holding the bees there.  What will happen is alot of drifting away into other nearby queenrite hives. Within a couple days the packaged hive is empty of resident bees and robbing is well underway.
When doing packages and without a queen for whatever reason the action to take is to combine the packages into one with a queen.  A double shake.  Let this bigger hive get established for 3 weeks.  When the brood starts emerging, then go take a split off it with another queen in your pocket to give the split.
It really is not a set back, other than the cost of another queen, as during that first 2weeks the queen they do have is going gangbusters. With much more bees of the double package, they are producing much more brood too. In this way you are getting that second hive started and well along by one queen and double the bees.
Though she is important, queen only lays the eggs. It is the bees that make bees.  More bees makes more bees makes more bees .....
Hope that is clear as what to do in that situation.  Hope that helps!

A double shake of package bees to combine to an existing hive?  Is this what you mean HP?  I would use newspaper combine to be on the safe side.  The existing hive might or might not accept homeless strangers.

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I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Queen flew away!
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2021, 07:42:00 pm »
No Van. Not sure where one would get that idea.
The situation is having received two or more packages but only one queen between them. The advice is install both/all the packages into the same hive and give them the one queen. Just dump them all in the same box. The queen caged and candied of course.
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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2021, 09:29:45 pm »
No Van. Not sure where one would get that idea.
The situation is having received two or more packages but only one queen between them. The advice is install both/all the packages into the same hive and give them the one queen. Just dump them all in the same box. The queen caged and candied of course.

Ok thank you HP for the explanation.  I will admit I am having issues, well constant very distracting pain, with arthritis and see an orthopedic Wednesday. I?ll be ok, no worries.  So excuse my misunderstanding, I am distracted.  That is why I texted with a question Mark ? as you always straight talk about the bees.  So I figured I should clarify my confusion by my previous text.  Again, thanks..,  Van
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 09:41:48 pm by van from Arkansas »
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2021, 01:31:09 am »
Van, it is sad to hear you have not been feeling well. Hopefully there are better times ahead. I recall seeing somewhere that bee stings may be good for arthritis therapy. Perhaps considering going gloveless and smokeless for awhile? ;)  Or maybe the sting therapy theory is just replacing one type of pain with another. Who knows. Best wishes that you feel better soon.
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Online The15thMember

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2021, 01:45:18 pm »
Ok thank you HP for the explanation.  I will admit I am having issues, well constant very distracting pain, with arthritis and see an orthopedic Wednesday. I?ll be ok, no worries.  So excuse my misunderstanding, I am distracted.  That is why I texted with a question Mark ? as you always straight talk about the bees.  So I figured I should clarify my confusion by my previous text.  Again, thanks..,  Van
Sorry you are not feeling well, Van.  Hopefully your appointment goes well and you're feeling better soon.  :smile:
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Queen flew away!
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2021, 07:43:32 pm »
Ok thank you HP for the explanation.  I will admit I am having issues, well constant very distracting pain, with arthritis and see an orthopedic Wednesday. I?ll be ok, no worries.  So excuse my misunderstanding, I am distracted.  That is why I texted with a question Mark ? as you always straight talk about the bees.  So I figured I should clarify my confusion by my previous text.  Again, thanks..,  Van
Sorry you are not feeling well, Van.  Hopefully your appointment goes well and you're feeling better soon.  :smile:

Same here, best wishes Van.
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