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The Manner

Categories: SWARMING.
Bee Keeping: Mysteries Of Bee-keeping Explained

After the first queen was matured, and had left her cell, I caught her

within six hours, taking advantage of her younger sisters, which were

yet sealed up, and of course could offer no resistance. She first made

an opening that would allow her to reach the abdomen of her competitor

(probably this is the most vulnerable). As soon as this was

sufficiently large to admit her body, she thrust it in, inflicting the

fatal st
ng. This was then left for another, that soon shared the same

fate. If quick and spiteful movements are any indications of hatred, it

was manifested here very plainly. The bees enlarged the orifice and

dragged out the now dead queens.

Now, if I should say that all queens were dispatched in this way,

merely because I witnessed it in this case, it would be carrying out

the principle I am endeavoring to avoid: that is, judging all cases

from one or two solitary facts. As it is, it is somewhat confirmatory

of what some others have said. I will suppose, then, until further

evidence contradicts it, that the first perfect queen leaving her cell,

makes it her business to destroy all rivals in their cradle, as soon as

it is decided that no more swarms shall issue. By keeping grass, weeds,

&c., away from about the stock, these dead queens, as they are brought

out, may be frequently found. Such as are removed during the night may

be often found on the floor-board in the morning. I have found a dozen

by one stock. Should the stock send out but one swarm, they may be

found about the time, or a little before you would listen for the

piping. But should after swarms come out, they will, or may be found

the next morning after it is decided that no more are to issue. It is

very seldom that all the queens reared are needed. They make it a rule,

as far as they have control, to go on safe principles, by having a

little more than just enough. When several such bodies are thrown out,

and no piping is heard, no further swarming need be expected. But

should you hear the piping a day or two after finding a dead queen, you

may yet look for the swarm.


It is stated that when the bees decide an after swarm shall issue, the

first queen matured is not allowed to leave her cell, but kept a

prisoner there, and fed until wanted to go forth with the swarm. This

may be true in some cases (though not satisfactorily proved), but I am

quite sure it is not in all.

When she is confined to her cell, how does she ascertain the presence

of others? By leaving the cell, this knowledge is easily obtained.

Huber says she does, and is "enraged at the existence of others, and

endeavors to destroy them while yet in the cell, which the workers will

not allow; this is so irritating to her majesty that she utters this

peculiar sound." Also second and third swarms may contain several

queens, frequently two, three, and four; even six at one time come out.

If these had to bite their way out, after the workers had decided it

was time to start (for it _must be they_ decide it when the queens are

shut up), they would hardly be in season.