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How To Find Queen When Two Strangers Are Together

Category: SWARMING.

First, look into the lower hive for a dead queen, and, if none is found
there, look thoroughly, as far as possible, for a little compact
cluster of bees, the size of a hen's egg, that may be rolled about
without separating. Secure this cluster in a tumbler; it is quite sure
one of the queens is a prisoner in the middle;[16] should two be seen,
get both. Then divide the bees, and give the one destitute, a queen;
or, if you have two, one to each, as the case may be. It would be well
first to see if the queen was alive, by removing the bees from about
her. But should you find nothing of the kind, spread a sheet on the
ground, shake the bees on one end of it, and set the hive on the other;
they will immediately begin a march for the hive. You may now see the
cluster, and may not; but they will spread out in marching, and give a
good chance to see her majesty, when a tumbler is the most convenient
thing to set over her. No matter if a few bees are shut up with her,
there is no risk, then, in your eagerness to get the queen, of taking
hold of a worker or two. A piece of window-glass can be slipped under,
and you have her safe, and by this time you will know what is to be
done next. This operation could not well be done in the middle of the
day, or in the sun, as too many bees would be flying, and greatly

[16] All stranger queens, introduced into a stock or swarm, are
secured and detained in this manner by the workers, but whether
_they_ dispatch them, or this is a means adopted to incite them
to a deadly conflict, writers do not agree, and I shall not
attempt a decision, as I never saw the bees voluntarily release a
queen thus confined. But I have seen queens, when no bees
interfered, rush together in a fatal rencounter, and one of them
was soon left a fallen victim of the contest. 'Tis said it
_never_ happens that both are killed in these battles,--perhaps
not. As I never saw _quite all_ of these royal combats, of course
I cannot decide.

Should you fail in finding a queen, and cannot succeed in making a
division in consequence, or should you resolve, from want of time,
patience or energy, to let them remain together in the beginning, it is
unnecessary to get a hive any larger than usual for two swarms; they
will certainly find room by cold weather: if more than two, they
_should_ be divided by all means; it will be a disadvantage for another
year. For the first four days, when two large swarms are together, it
is necessary to keep an inverted hive under them, but much longer it
would not do, as they might extend their combs into the lower hive.

Next: Boxes For Double Swarms Immediately

Previous: Some Precautions In Hiving Two Swarms Together

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