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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last year I placed some cells on splits on June 15th. On July 7th found evidence of mated queen but was unable to find her. On subsequent inspections through the rest of the season she was never seen, but always had lots of eggs and brood and the colony was thriving. I pride myself in finding queens quickly so this one was frustrating me, but attributed it to being such a strong colony.

This year on March 15th, during a warm spell as I was checking for remaining stores I spotted and marked her. She was far smaller than an average queen, had a slimmer abdomen and not a much bigger than a worker. Since I never found her and marked her last year there was no way to tell if she was even the same queen or if being small is why I was unable to find her. Perhaps she was an emergency queen. My thought was to replace her as soon as I had a good queen.

Yesterday, April 12, was a warm sunny day so I went to check on the hives and looked to see how she was doing. To my surprise she is an egg laying machine. There were as many frames of eggs, brood, capped brood, and young workers as my other hives.

Has anyone experienced such a small queen laying so well and how long did the queen keep performing well?
 

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Yesterday I went through several hives mining for brood to make splits. My very most populous hive is headed by a very small 2-3 year old cordovan queen - had 17 medium frames of brood. She is also hard to spot among the matching workers and drones, but the person I was mentoring picked her right out.

She is the last of the daughters I raised from Russell Sunkist cordovans BTW. Might do some grafts from her this year. Big populations, big brood nests, big eaters.
 

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I personally never really worried much on queen size.

I have small queens producing massive colonies and small queens that get re queen because they preform poorly.

I have very large queens producing massive colonies and very large queens that get re queened because they preform poorly.

You could never judge a queen by the size. Give her a shot and see how she preforms.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>Has anyone experienced such a small queen laying so well and how long did the queen keep performing well?

While some of size is how well they were fed some of it is genetic. Think Shetland pony and Clydesdales. If you feed them well they will get fatter, but some of size has nothing to do with food. If you don't feed them enough it may stunt their growth, but I can't tell that from size alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am absolutely not going to get rid of her just because she is petite. Until I saw that she was laying I was concerned, but no different than your average sized queen. I make decisions based on performance and traits. I might just graft a few larva from her to see how her daughters turn out. I didn't graft or raise this cell so I have no idea what conditions she was raised raised in or how well she was fed. But they are gentle and had plenty of stores left.
 
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