I thought I'd learned this lesson before, but I guess I needed a refresher.
I was out checking to be sure my queens had emerged and were resident - but I got called away for a short - urgent need back at the house. I had just pulled the frame with the queen cell mounted on it and I am fairly certain I saw the emerged virgin queen, but when I got the call from the house I set the side of this frame on the ground and the other end against the front of the hive. When I came back there were two large toads stationed about four inches away from the frame and were taking turns snatching bees from the frame with their tongues. I quickly snatched the frame from their reach and noticed that the virgin was not present, and about half of the initial quantity of young bees was also absent from this frame. Note to self: never rest frames on the ground if you are not going to be present to defend them. :mad: