I am building up a medium sized swarm I was given one month ago- today for the first time I saw the queen through my observation windows. She is HUGE. I had theorized that the swarm had a virgin queen because I inspected it some 14 days after I hived it and saw no evidence of eggs, larvae, etc- even though there was quite a bit of comb. When I inspected 12 days later there was capped brood and larvae visible so I assumed the queen had successfully mated and started laying:
However- the queen I saw today look to my untrained eye to be an old one- for one reason- she has almost no hair at all on her thorax? Does that mean I have the old queen? Does the degree of hairlessness give you an indication of how many years old the queen may be?
The frames of capped brood are nicely laid- not patchy- and the colony seems to be booming building out there six frames well. I assume if she managed to swarm from her old home- she must have been at least a relatively successful queen. Nevertheless: given her possibly advanced age- should I be thinking of re-queening down the road? Or should I just let her reign until I see some sign that she is faltering?