I am a relatively new beekeeper and caught my first swarm in early July. I thought for sure I'd got the queen in because all the bees happily moved into a nuc I'd set up and scooped a pile of the bees into.
When I got them home, I searched for the queen but couldn't find her. There were lots of bees, so it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. A few days later I checked again and found no queen, no signs of eggs.
Because the swarm had no eggs, brood or I thought no queen, on July 10 I installed a frame from my other hive with some eggs and open and capped brood. Within 3 days there were queen cups all along the bottom of the frame.
July 21 - Checked progress on queens. Nice big queen cells. Bee count WAY down... Then, I see a queen walking across the frame. Not as big as my other, but definitely a queen.
new queen.jpgbig queen cell.jpg
July 22 - Other queen cells mostly torn open and now empty.
Being that I only added the frame of brood 11 days prior to finding the queen what do you think happened here? It's not likely that by some miracle a queen was raised in 11 days is it?
One theory is maybe the swarm had a virgin queen and after I caught them and hived them at home she snuck out on her mating flight and is now back?
Would the bees have built queen cells while the queen was out to mate incase she didn't return?
It's great that she's there. I haven't seen eggs yet, but hopefully she has mated. What are your thoughts?