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Last week I installed 2 new packages of bees. After the recommended wait time, I went back to check. One hive was as expected (worker bees still clustered a little aggressively around queen cage so I'll give it a few more days). But in the other hive, the queen and her attendants were very dead, and looked like they had been that way for several days.

Needless to say, I was quite discouraged. But as I keep thinking about it that evening and the next day (and wondering where to get a new queen), it seemed odd to me that the bees were acting extremely normal and building tons of hive and sucking down the sugar water and protein patty. I found a few similar stories online that suggested maybe there was another, unexpected queen in the package that killed the queen in the cage. And I found a few more articles that said such an idea was nonsense.

Anyways, to encourage anyone who experiences the same, I opened the hive back up this evening and pulled out the middle frame (where most of the bees were). Eggs are really hard for me to see, but I sure thought I was some in the middle. Queens are also usually hard for me to find, - but there she was at the bottom of the frame, - the biggest queen I've ever seen busy doing her thing. I carefully put everything back together and closed it up with a smile.

So, - I'm guessing the original queen got accidentally scooped up when they prepped my package, - and she and the caged queen fought to the finish through the wires. So, - I guess it can really happen. Fun... Good luck to all, and be safe.
 

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Very interesting story dhd. And welcome to BeeSource!

In the springtime, approximately 20% of bee hives will have a second queen, probably going through a natural supersedure.

It would be my guess that a loose and laying queen could not kill a queen in a queen cage, but it's more likely that the bees, happy with the laying queen, balled the dead queen in her cage, killing her by overheating her. JMO

A tip: When looking for eggs, orient yourself with the sun at your back and tilt the frame so the light and your eyes reach the bottom of the cells. You will see more of everything that way.

In any case, congratulations on your discovery! :)
 

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Great post. It's a question that comes up about this time every year so I'm glad you mentioned it.
 
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