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Weird find- wingless Queen outside the hive


#1

Just found something very odd- a queen crawling on the ground- in good order but wingless- and outside at the rear of the hive. I had inspected that hive yesterday but only the flow frames- didn’t go into the brood chamber at all. The queen looks oldish- little fur- but in good order and crawling vigorously.

What’s going on? Supercedure? Pre-Swarm battle? Seems odd as it’s the hive I requeened in Autumn with a fresh mated and very productive queen.

Poor thing has lost her wings:


#2

hmm- o dear- it’s late afternoon and that hive has the largest beard of bees it’s ever had. I inspected it ten days ago- no queen cells- gave it four new frames to work on and removed several brood frames over the last month. Now I find that queen- and this beard- could the queen on the ground be an abortive swarm attempt?


#3

I didn’t know what to do with her- so I thought I would see how the beard reacted to her.… A scientific test… I put her near the entrance- bees immediately started congregating on her. I saw that some were licking her- and feeding her- the little ball of bees started moving back into the hive entrance and I thought maybe they were going to let her back in to live out her days. :kissing_heart:Not to be… a second later a few bees pushed her to the brink- and one of them unceremoniously kicked her off down into the grassy depths below…:dizzy_face: Et Tu Brutus?

I left her to nature and fate… who knows- one chance in a million she makes the momentous climb and sneaks back into the hive in the dead of night.


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#4

If she had lost her wings, perhaps she had been superseded and lost her wings in the fight for regal rule in the colony??


#5

The video above shows two newly emerged queen bees fighting to the death. The interesting part is that this is normal…queens killing each other is hardwired into honeybee biology. Queens can be replaced, either by the beekeeper or through natural processes when the queens get too old. Workers will eventually adopt new queens if the original queen is removed or if she dies…but queen bees will not tolerate each other.


#6

I’m guessing that must be what caused it- just a guess though. I wonder what’s going on in there? It’s a shame as she was only 6 months old and had a great laying pattern. The hive is booming- the four flow frames are all building up fast and about 50% full. But the bees know best! Poor thing. O well.


#7

At least they didn’t swarm with the new queen…that’s some of kind of upside at least.

On your last brood inspection were the brood healthy and ok? I guess I’m asking with thoughts of deformed wing virus (DWV) in mind. I haven’t seen anything that indicates this in any of your posts anywhere on this forum but thought I’d ask about the last brood inspections (searching for info on DWV previously seems to generally link it with Varroa, but that is not always the case. Interestingly, it seems that DWV can be passed from drone to queen during mating and infect a colony that way).


#8

Just so I don’t alarm you with mention of DWV, on a google search you’ll come across other forums (USA) where people have observed wingless virgin queens. Nature creates all sorts…it’s how we ended up walking on 2 legs rather than remaining a single cell life form living in the water…


#9

That’s not a virgin queen.
I bet you’ve had a supersedure and the bees have kicked her out.
Drones get their wings eaten off when they are kicked out so why not a queen. You say you looked in two weeks ago. When did you look in previously?


#10

@Dee…how can you tell the difference a virgin queen and a mated queen from a photo?


#11

Size …
Abdomen length in relation to rest of her


#12

Yes she looked oldish.

I looked around 10 days ago. No sign of queen cells but maybe I missed some- the bees were covering all the frames heavily. I didn’t see the queen but I saw fresh eggs. checked it maybe 14 days before that. Hive is very healthy and booming…

When I found the queen she was just wondering on the ground- wingless. No other bees around her- no ants on her- so my guess is the bees did it to her :cry: