I caught a swarm in a 5-gallon bucket and got them into a box, I thought successfully, queen and all. But next day there are still a handful of bees in the bucket and they're all gathered around a dead bee. I could swear it's a worker, only the color is a little different, but this was the second swarm, so likely had a virgin queen.
Would she look the same as a worker? What other explanation would there be for such interest in just one of the 4 dead bees in the bucket? I took her out for the examination, put her back, and all the bees came back to her.
And if I did manage to kill the most important bee in the entire bucket, what will happen next in the box where I put the swarm?
No, A virgin queen looks more like a queen, only a bit smaller, and less plump. Although once they are dead and curled up, it would be more difficult.
Originally Posted by acwest
It could be that that individual worker had direct contact with the queen before dying and picked up some of her pheromone.
The easy way to check if a queen is there is to give the swarm hive some eggs from another hive. If they make queen cells in a few days, the queen is dead. If they rear worker brood, she's there.
If she is already dead, they will abscond, or develop laying workers and waste away.