I had two seemingly queenless hives. I’ve been giving them frames of brood periodically to keep them going but didn’t see any signs of queens when I should have. Yesterday local beek rang me- he had a spare queen that he was going to euthanise unless I wanted it. I said yes bring it over.
I went to put it in the larger of the two queenless hives- one that I had inspected a week ago and found no eggs in at all. I had a quick inspection- and what do you know: fresh eggs. So that hive had finally managed to requeen itself. OK- no problem I went to put her in the other hive. I had a brief look and couldn’t see any brood, and that hive had lots of honey and bee bread. However I think did see one tiny patch of eggs- I say i think as it was getting dark and I couldn’t be totally sure what I was seeing. certainly no brood at all. I was not sure if they might be dead eggs from a frame of brood I gave that hive around 12 days ago… More likely is that that hive managed to make a queen as well after all. Not knowing what to do I put the queen in a cage on top of the bars and left her for ten minutes. When I came back there were bees on the cage and they seemed happy- no sign of any attempts to sting the queen. So I installed the cage between the bars and closed up the hive.
If that hive does indeed now have two queens I assume they will fight it out. However I am a little concerned about that process: could both queens end up getting damaged? The idea that two queens could fight to the death- and that the victor would come out relatively unscathed seems odd to me: Muhammad Ali beat Joe Frazier but as Joe said afterwards: Ali was never the same man after that fight…
Or would the introduced queen be killed by the worker bees and not the reigning monarch?