Flighty Virgin Queen Absconds!

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Moobee 

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Having decided to increase to 2 hives in my 2nd year, I decided to make a split from my hive as it’s nice and strong & ordered a locally bred queen.
Nuc set up on Monday. Then got a call from local BKA that a swarm was available. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth (& hey, 3 hives would be ok), I said yes please and he brought it over Monday night and we hived it with a clear crownboard. Quite small so possibly a cast.

Tuesday, new mated queen arrived and was popped into the nuc.
Today, took plastic tab off queen cage in nuc.

Against my instincts (I thought to leave the swarm alone for a week as virgin queen might be skittish but was advised otherwise....), gently checked ‘swarm’ hive for activity and queen. Comb being drawn, pollen being stored, no sign of eggs. Found the queen who promptly flew off....... 😱😱😱
Need to know she’s returned but don’t want to spook her again. Had planned to add queen excluder but left off in case she was nearby.
So, added an eke & fondant and closed up.

Not sure what to do next?
How or when to check if the queen has returned? If not there, combine with nuc? (but how?)
Give them a frame of brood with eggs/larvae from main hive and see if they produce QCs?
 

hemo 

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When a Q flies off, in future remain where you are with the hive as you will be used as a reference point/land mark for her. Usually they will fly around fo a bit but often return with in 10 - 20 minutes.
There's a chance she may have returned safely soon after so leave a for a day or three then have another look to see if all is well. Don't expect to see eggs as some new queens will need feeding up and may be a bit slow getting back in to lay, though eggs are a bonus if you see them so then not necessary to continue looking.
 

steve1958 

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Sounds like a cast swarm in which case the Queen will not have mated yet.
So its pointless inspecting looking for eggs as she won't be laying yet
Patience is the hardest lesson to learn in beekeeping
 

Moobee 

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Sounds like a cast swarm in which case the Queen will not have mated yet.
So its pointless inspecting looking for eggs as she won't be laying yet
Patience is the hardest lesson to learn in beekeeping
Annoyingly I was going to wait but advised I should check...... will go with gut instinct next time 🙄
 

hemo 

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If a Q takes flight when you are there having opened up, you are then likely main focal point she will likely latch on to. So staying put is the best thing to do and in most cases you will notice her ungainly flight, if you move away too soon she may be confused and not make it back to the colony if she uses you as the reference point.
 
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rook66 

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Not looking good, if it was a virgin queen in the nuc and she panicked, she won't have orientated to the area, I would put in a test frame now, It can't do any harm.There again it is possible that there was more than one virgin in the cast.
 
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Moobee 

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If a Q takes flight when you are there having opened up, you are then likely main focal point she wee likely latch on to. So staying put is the best thing to do and in most cases you will notice her ungainly flight, if you move away too soon she may be confused and not make it back to the colony if she uses you as the reference point.
I was there for a while as I searched for her to see if she had landed nearby or under the hive. Fingers crossed....
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I wouldn't panic too much - I remember a few years ago inadvertently having a virgin queen in the top box of a Demarree, It was just by chance I saw her but before I could do anything (whatever anything would have been I still don't know) off she flew. I finished what i was doing, closed up and forgot about it (she wasn't a planned queen anyway so no big deal) although I did keep the Demarree going - a few weeks later I found eggs and brood and eventually the top box was taken off and used to fill a gap at another apiary.
 

oliver90owner 

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Question: What time of day did you inspect? If it was early afternoon she could have been readying for a mating flight. But, whatever, leave them alone at that time of the day, if there is a virgin present.

Give her three weeks from hiving. Little point in inspecting before, so why interfere.
 

Moobee 

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Question: What time of day did you inspect? If it was early afternoon she could have been readying for a mating flight. But, whatever, leave them alone at that time of the day, if there is a virgin present.

Give her three weeks from hiving. Little point in inspecting before, so why interfere.
I do my inspections late morning so would have been about 11am.
 

Moobee 

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I wouldn't panic too much - I remember a few years ago inadvertently having a virgin queen in the top box of a Demarree, It was just by chance I saw her but before I could do anything (whatever anything would have been I still don't know) off she flew. I finished what i was doing, closed up and forgot about it (she wasn't a planned queen anyway so no big deal) although I did keep the Demarree going - a few weeks later I found eggs and brood and eventually the top box was taken off and used to fill a gap at another apiary.
It’s over 24 hours since the incident and the bees are busy bringing in stores - assume this is a positive sign?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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It’s over 24 hours since the incident and the bees are busy bringing in stores - assume this is a positive sign?
neither is or isn't - bees will bring in stores and pollen regardless of whether queenright or not.
 
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Moobee 

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Stop clutching at anything. Leave them alone as suggested above. You are not going to change anything.
Not planning to do any poking around just wondered if any outward signs are an indicator of being queenright.
 

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