I had a swarm enter one of the bait hives I have at my house last PM. I looked at it this AM and there were bees covering the front. I've had this happen before but I've always dumped them into a new hive and taken them to another location without any problem. This time I wanted to find the queen, make a nuc, and use the balance of the swarm to add to another hive for honey. I also wanted to get the bees on frames of foundation or comb because I populated this box with only 10 top bars and strips of foundation. I took the box down and dumped the bees that were hanging on the front into a 10 frame deep box and opened the bait hive. They had already drawn out about a 4" long by 2" deep section of comb on nearly all the top bars. I shook the clinging bees into the box after looking for the queen with no success. I then saw the queen on the side of the box so I took the end of a top bar the bees had just built new comb on and put it near the queen. She climbed on and as I was lifting her out she flew off. I've had this happen before as well with results ranging from snatching queens out of the air to never seeing them again. I've also had queen fly back on to branches after shaking them off so I am wondering what my chances are that she flew back to the hive or the location the bait hive was at on the tree? I was doing this work at the base of the tree where the bait hive was so she didn't have far to go. I just wonder if the queen is mainly depending on the other bees in the swarm to guide her?
I'll check for eggs in a few days and I'll also try to find her. If she is a virgin, which seems to be the case for the last few swarms, I'll just add the bees to a honey producing colony in another location if I can't find her.
If i had to guess I'd say she was mated but this is only judging from her size.
Thanks
Howard