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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally located and marked my queen from my April 20 package. She was HUGE! At first I thought the package of bees were building drone comb below the bar of drawn brood comb that I gave them. Then when I saw her majesty, I realized her body was too big to fit in the natural cell foundationless comb they had been given. I have finally spotted eggs in the new hive, but lots of unused comb because she is so big. My picture doesn't adequately show her size. She's a full 1 inch long on a ruler. Is this a normal size for a queen? The local queen I bought last year was far smaller, but a good one.

IMG_2109.jpg
 

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Looks like her posterior abdomen is pointy though... I'll bet they work it all out on their own.
 

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For a well-produced queen during spring build-up and in a colony that's kicking, yes that size is not unusual. The upshot is that you can be pretty certain when you find one that big she's not leaving anytime soon. :)

Unrelated, so please forgive the intrusion, but I'm not a big fan of those queen catchers. I find it best just to use your fingers to pick up the queen and place her in a marking tube or simply mark her while holding her. Michael Palmer has a great post on marking queens. My objection to the device you're using is that its too easy to damage the queen. Something as simple as foot pad damage can induce a supercedure. Of course anytime you handle the queen there is some measure of risk. I suggest that you become comfortable picking drones off the frames with your bare hands before attempting it on queens. If you need some form of protection then the nitrile gloves are nearly as good as bare skin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
AstroBee, I just picked up my other queen from Andy in Hampton today. Those queens were nowhere near the size of this queen, although they were both from California apiaries. Andy said they bulk up after they've been out in the hive a bit. And maybe she did since I didn't attempt to mark her when I first installed the package, but 9 days later.

I'm not a big fan of these queen catchers either, for the same reason you mentioned. But it was a necessary evil since I don't have "frames" with my top bar hive, and the comb is too fragile to turn it upside down. I chose not to mark my queen last year, but that led to problems finding her when they decided to supersede in Feb. I've decided to mark all my queens this year. Only one more to go...
 
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