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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently installed six new packages. I have my hives setup with a single deep, a queen excluder, a top entrance spacer and a top feeder. When I went back after 3 days to be sure the queens were released, on one hive when I lifted the feeder off there was a queen in with the hoard of bees that were crowded into the center of the feeder. She seemed a little larger (definately a queen and not a drone) than the queen that was in the cage and was not marked (I looked at each queen through the cage when I installed the packages to verify they were alive and all were marked). Unfortunately she took off before I could catch her. My question is: Did I just lose my queen? For this to have been the queen I installed, she would have to of been able to get past the queen excluder and lost her marking as well. Is that a possibility or is it more likely that this was a feral queen attempting to "take over" (I do live in an area where AHB's have been found)? It has been nearly a week since this occurred and this hive still seems happy, they are busy drawing comb and acting the same as the other 5 hives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have not gone back into the boxes yet. Am planning to check for eggs/brood this weekend (14 days post install). I will of course look for the queen then.
 

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Good luck. The queen you saw sounds large enough to have been mated. Not sure why she was there.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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It's pretty unusual to see a queen in the feeder. It's also unusual for a mated queen to fly. It's more likely, if indeed it was not a drone, that it's a virgin queen. Usually when there's a virgin loose in a package they will kill the queen in the cage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Michael:

It definately was not a drone, there were lots of them around to compare with. I checked the queen in the cage before installing the package and she was alive and quite hyper. I agree that this was probably a virgin queen since she could fly so well. I picked up these packages from the producer early in the morning right after they were shaken, so I suppose it is possible that she just did not have time to navigate through all the bees to get to the queen in the cage before I hived them. Maybe I was lucky during the hiving process and trapped her on the outside of the queen excluder and my marked queen is still alive and well in the broodbox. In any case I probably missed an opportunity for a "free" extra queen.
 

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"In any case I probably missed an opportunity for a "free" extra queen."

That's the best way to look at it, another way is that maybe you got lucky and prevented an AHB takeover.
 
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