I extracted honey this past weekend and unfortunately had a queen come with my supers. I tried to be careful to take no brood frames, but apparently Murphy's Law was in effect. I was lucky to find her, but my luck ended there. I pulled a frame of brood and another of honey with bees and put them in a nuc with the queen in a queen box and a candy plug. I might have been alright had I left it like that, but I went further and blocked most of the entrance by arranging some lumber in front of it, with one piece touching the ground.
I checked on the hive today and when i removed the lumber, I saw that ants were under the piece at the entrance. My 1st thought was that they got to the honey. I inspected the queen box to see whether she'd been released, but I saw the candy was still in place. I didn't see the queen. I took the box out to inspect it, and I saw no way for the queen to get out, yet she was not in there. I did see a couple of very small bee parts still inside, one of which was somewhat head-shaped. DANG!! The only thing I can think of is that the ants ate her.
Any other possibilities?
Lesson learned - don't give ants a ladder into a hive. That being said, all of my hives are on pallets on cinder blocks, which are on the ground, so they have a path anyway.
I did check in the nuc; she wasn't there. I agree that the lack of more significant remains was baffling. Still, I inspected the queen box and I saw no way for her to get out.
One thing I forgot to mention that for a short period before placing the box in the nuc, I gave her a few drops of water through the screen (still Texas summer here), which mixed with the candy plug and got things a little sticky, including her. I figured the bees would clean her up. Maybe I just made her a tasty treat. However, the bulk of the candy remained, so that argues against the ants being that voracious.