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Requeening hive - confusing acceptance/rejection behavior


I had one of my hives swarm about two weeks ago and have been monitoring the hive ever since to see if they would re-queen on their own, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen. Capped brood dwindled down to a small amount, no eggs, no larvae, and there were a couple of empty supercedure cells. So I acquired a new queen and opened the hive, placing her cage on top of the frames to evaluate the hive’s reaction. Most bees that climbed on and around her cage seemed to accept. Head first like they were getting to know her and seemingly docile. However, there were 2-3 workers that were curled up trying to sting through the cage screen. The 2-3 were in the minority, but should I be concerned?


I would be concerned that you may have a sneaky virgin or very young queen in there. How soon after they swarmed did you inspect? Did you see any queen cells? If it the first time they have swarmed this season, they usually only swarm when a new queen is almost ready to emerge. If you didn’t inspect for a couple of days after the swarm, such a cell can easily be missed or even torn down by the bees. I would hunt for that new queen - they will kill your purchased queen if they can choose their own instead.


Hi there and thanks for your reply. I inspected about 3 days after the swarm and twice over the course of two weeks. It is the first time they have swarmed ever (brand new hive last year). I will check again tomorrow on the behavior and see if I can find a queen. I couldn’t find any queen today, or any evidence of a queen. Thanks for the tip on a virgin queen. I will have to look more closely for her if she exists. The hive is still densely populated with bees and she will be difficult to spot by a beginner like me.