So I inspected one of my hives yesterday. The hive had already swarmed and had a virgin queen running around. I had left 2 capped swarm cells in the hive by the time I found her. So I am hopeful she will kill them rather than letting them swarm away. I know it was a Virgin queen because there were no eggs, there was an unzipped queen cell, and she was small and looked flighty. But in general how can you tell the difference between a Virgin queen and a queen about to swarm. I know that the bees don't feed a queen about to swarm or at least run her around so I am thinking that she would be skinny when it is time to fly. When does she quit laying eggs? Or can she lay right up to the time she swarms?
The old queen lays fewer and fewer eggs until swarming and often lays a few the day she swarms. If she is running really fast and bees look like they are attacking her, she is a virgin. If she is being pushed and shaken and looks like she is tired of it, she is the old queen.