About three days ago, I got a small swarm, right behind my hives. I thought it might have been a secondary swarm with a virgin queen, from one colony that had swarmed a few days before. I did not have frames set up, so I kept it in a pail covered with screen indoors. Next day I put them in a 4 frame nuc with three frames of foundation and one frame of brood and eggs, but no bees, from a good colony. I though that if a queen, virgin or not, was in the crowd they would not build a supercedure cell, and that if she was there, that she would start laying, unless she was virgin. Today I went in and upon looking on one side of the frame I saw a small queen (small abdomen) and I though that's the virgin queen! But then I noticed she had frayed wings, and that the rest of the bees were paying no attention to her. On the other side of the frame several workers were around an enlarged worker cell that seems to me it's being turned into a supercedure cell located pretty much in the center of the single frame with brood.
Does this sound like an old queen to you? Should I kill her and leave the hive only with the supercedure cell they are building to prevent the old, (or virgin with frayed wings, whichever might be the case) from leaving with some of the bees once or after the emergency cell get's capped? Or is it likely she will be killed by the bees or leave alone...?
[This message has been edited by dandelion (edited May 24, 2003).]