let me direct your attention to the Bee Culture magazine, July 2010 issue, article titled Queen Bee 101 by Larry Connor. Considering all things being good with a queen bee, I quote from his article, "the Art of Beekeeping that provides me with so much satisfaction. Letting these Grand Old Ladies die a natural death seems like a fair trade for a number of highly productive seasons. It has nothing to do with being a businessperson, but a great deal about your appreciation of genetic diversity, longevity and productivity."
i was glad to read that the qb isn't thrown out like a worn out shoe. it gave me as a newbee some respect of what hb goes through. cheers and happy beekeeping.