How To Find Queen When Two Strangers Are Together





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

interfere.



[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.





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