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Queen flew away

I went to requeen my hive, but in my fumbling haste to grab the old queen she flew away. I have searched all around in a 2m radius around the hive but I cannot find her and I doubt she will be able to crawl back into the hive with the setup I have.

What to do now? I have a purchased queen waiting to be installed, but I’m not 100% sure the hive is queenless? I did see her fly off, but maybe she circled back and made it in before I closed up? Hive still seems pretty calm/placid.

If I do a check tomorrow and don’t see her, is there still a decent chance the new queen will be accepted? What if they have already started building a queen cell?

Any advice welcome. I’m located in Perth, WA.

I’m sorry for taking 3 days to answer your questions. Have you sorted your issue out? If not, I have some ideas for you.

cheers

Hi Jeff,

Appreciate the reply. In the end I waited about 30 hours, then did another inspection with a second person to try and find the returned queen. No sign of her, but the hive was as calm as normal and no signs of any queen cup building.

It was a bit of a use her or lose her situation with the new queen (I’d actually bought her for a different hive but when I went to install her I found several supercedure cells so figured I’d let them sort it out).

So I put her in my other hive (caught swarm from Oct) and taped the queen cage to give her a bit more time before release and left them to it. No signs of aggression from the hive towards her that I could see. Did a super quick, smokeless check the following day to ensure they’d dealt with the tape and they were probably an hour or two away from eating all the way through the candy plug. Looked like they were feeding her through the cage.

Now I’m just waiting the required 7 or so days to see if they’ve accepted her and she’s laying. Not sure what else I could have done but very open to suggestions. I know there’s a chance the old queen may return.

Thanks

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Hi Anna, I think you’ll be fine with what you did. In regards to a colony building queen cells after losing a queen, sometimes I find that it takes 3 days for a colony to start building emergency queen cells. I think it depends on how long it takes for a colony to realize that they don’t have a queen.

If a queen gets killed in the hive, that’s a different story. The bees find her body, cart her outside (unceremoniously), then quickly communicate the message throughout the hive that she’s gone while immediately getting to work to build emergency queens.

If things don’t work out with this new queen, you’ll be able to use brood containing fresh fertile eggs from your other hive, they’ll be able to make a new queen with that, then fingers crossed, she’ll get mated.

cheers

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Thanks Jeff. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it works out. Have definitely learned a lot this past week. Will update this weekend.

For anyone else who has a queen fly off, I found this link helpful as well:

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Hi Anna, you’re most welcome. It’s great that you’re researching & reading stuff. One thing you’ll learn along the way is that no matter how we think we’ve done everything right, the bees have different ideas. It’s great when things work according to plan, & most times they do. I’ve learned to take it in my stride when things don’t go according to plan. The main thing is to have a backup plan. An example is in your case you have that second hive to fall back on.

A queen flew away on me several months ago. I was silly transferring a colony from my brood box to a customer’s brood box positioned about 4 meters apart. That was a lesson learnt. I wont do that again. Lucky I had a backup colony to give the bloke because he drove 3 hours each way to come for his bees.

PS I’m surprised that no one from Perth has replied to you because there is a strong community on this forum of flow owners in Perth & WA.