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We had a top bar hive with a couple of issues. It was in a shadier spot in the apiary, had a large number of hive beetles AND the bees were pretty pissy. We relocated it to a sunnier position which helped drop the number of hive beetles a little, but didn't change the temperament of the bees. After our bee inspector confirmed our suspicions, we decided to do two things: re-home them into a Langstroth hive so we could better control the beetles and then re-queen them with a sweeter queen.

We relocated them to the Langstroth brood box and placed it on to the open top bar hive. We've designed our top bars so Langstroth boxes can be placed directly onto them. It allows us to add supers to our top bars and in the event of re-homing, gives the straggler bees an easy way to migrate to their new hive box. We found the original queen, put her in a queen clip and left her in the brood box overnight to help the stragglers find their way.

The next day, we opened up the Langstroth and all the bees had made the migration. So, we took the old queen out and placed the clip on a railing 3 feet in front of the hive. We placed the new queen cage into the hive. The bees seemed almost immediately calmer. The bees were curious about the new queen... no agitation or aggressive behavior. Perfect!

We then started the process of moving the top bar and placing the brood box, bottom board and top board on the original stand.

During this process, we had to keep passing by the old queen on railing. She was there surrounded by 15-or-so bees for about 30 minutes... then suddenly, they were all gone and the clip sat empty on the railing.

So, finally, here in my question: Where did she go?

My immediate thought was that she flew the 3-4 feet to join her bees in the newly assembled Langstroth hive. So, we dug though the hive looking at each frame 4 times, but never found her unmarked butt. Relocating from a top bar to a Langstroth leaves a lot of comb reconstruction for the girls. The frames aren't easy to inspect because everyone was festooning and hard at work... but the hive was very calm and sweet. Each time we passed the new queen cage, all of the bees surrounding it seemed calm, too. We're about to go out to work a couple of other hives, and plan to check on that new queen cage. I'm sure we'll dig through that hive looking for the old queen, again.

I'm pretty good at spotting queens and the hive seems to have a new calm, disposition.

Anyone want to give me the odds of her actually being in the new hive?
 

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Keep an eye out for a clump of bees in the grass and brush and trees in a 10' radius of where the queen clip was. If she did not rejoin the main colony she will attract a clump of bees. Investigate any clumps of bees that you see.
 

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Keep an eye out for a clump of bees in the grass and brush and trees in a 10' radius of where the queen clip was. If she did not rejoin the main colony she will attract a clump of bees. Investigate any clumps of bees that you see.
Good advice; very recently used! I did a stupid by walking around with a frame with a newly laying queen on it. Had to go retrieve my marker and queen catcher. Got back to the open hive and could not re find that queen on the frame. After about 5 minutes of looking I retraced my steps and found the clump of bees described and managed to dig the queen out. I marked her but she was very sticky and upset. Checked a day later and she was going about business.

That time I got lucky! A quiet box is in order.
 
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