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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Today I found a healthy looking queen (plump, no visible damage to wing or legs) on the ground one foot from the very busy entrance, with three bees next to her. Her legs were still twitching. She hasn't gotten much attention until after half an hour in a clip at the entrance -- they seemed to be trying to move her:

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This has been a booming hive; saw a queen, a lot of eggs and brood last weekend. What are possible explanations for this? This hive had gone through two rounds of building QCs already since this new queen took over in February.

(a) The queen died of some disease or mechanical damage, new emergency QCs in the hive?
(b) This queen is superceded by a new one queen already laying?
(c) The queen crawled 10 ft. from another hive and died?

Thanks, h.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I would be looking for a recently opened supecedure cell and a virgin queen. Just a guess mind you. Old queen was probably stung.
 

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Could've been a neighboring hive's queen made a wrong turn upon returning from mating.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Would hate to end up with a virgin queen in this booming hive. Haven't had much success with mating queens in this coastal valley due to strong chilly winds and fog.

I guess the bees hadn't been happy with this queen from the very beginning even though she was an excellent, wall-to-wall, layer. Has something to do with producing not enough pheromones. Hope they killed her because they have managed to raise themselves a new laying queen in the 25 mph wind.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
UPDATE: Opened this three-deep hive today to collect capped honey frames from the top box and replace them with extracted frames and found several frames with eggs and young larvae. Didn't go into lower boxes today. Could be new laying supersedure queen, so the dead one one week ago was the original queen finally kicked out.
They still draw drone comb and raise drones; the warmest months are coming, so added a medium super.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Appreciate the update. You may have had a mother/daughter two queen hive for a short time. Daughter got mated and the bees gave mom the old heave ho.
 

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Baybee Mr. Palmer that queen was killed by workers, not by another queen. Her antenna is damaged and the legs tore off. Where ever she came from, it appears she entered a queenrite hive and the guard bees considered her a threat. She is all beat up.

If you know how to exam a spermatheka, you will be able to tell if she was a virgin or mated queen.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Van, I agree the queen was killed by workers. But until baybee goes into the brood boxes, we can only speculate as to her origin. An open queen cell where none existed before would make the new queen a supercedure, as would a short break in brood ages. A random queen from another apiary getting lost and having the unfortunate luck of entering an already queenright hive in baybee's beeyard would certainly be a cruel twist of fate.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Probably should have because she was already conveniently dead but didn't dissect the found queen for spermatheca because she very much looked like a mated queen. A few day ago, I had to find and cull virgin queens in a nuc and in a two-deep hive. They were obviously virgin: had pointed, dark abdomens, but worker bee-sized, short and skinny, moved around just like workers, and flew like regular workers.

The dead queen appeared to have no damage or missing parts. She looked a bit on a slim side but that's probably because queens quickly loose weight after bees stop feeding them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Today, exactly two months after the first incident, I found another dead queen right under the same entrance all alone and ignored. At that time, it looked like a successful supersedure. Today's queen also looks mated and the only visible damage is missing antenna:

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This hive has gone through supersedure at least two times since mid-February and also I found loaded queen cells at two other occasions. This is a three-deep hive, the mite load has been pretty low. Is this some kind of bad genetics?
 
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