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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my old queens (2018) was superseded naturally, new queen is laying nicely and all looks good...until I open another hive (same row but ~10ft away) and find my old queen there. She was marked red so there can not be any mistake. To make matters more interesting, I also found their normal young queen there laying as if nothing happened. According to my records there was never any frame transferred between the two, so grandma got in there by herself. She lived the "retirement life" for about 2 weeks until I found her and removed her. Is this normal for a hive to accept a foreign queen that walk in the door? Perhaps she was so old that did not have any queen pheromone left? Up until the replacement she was laying wall to wall frames of brood, there was no sign of aging.
Would like to hear if others have witnessed something like this. Thanks!
 

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When queens get old or sick or injured, etc, they stop producing their "queen pheromone" and they basically become just another honey bee. If she is no longer signaling that she is a queen, then the bees don't particularly care about her. It is interesting that she went to another hive, that is something I have never heard of before. There have been some interesting studies to suggest that way more hives than we think have more than one queen in them, its just that one is no longer active and shrinks down so we can't see her anymore.

It is possible that this is some kind of fluke and she is an okay queen if she was laying wall to wall. Could you make a small split and find out if she still lays?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is possible that this is some kind of fluke and she is an okay queen if she was laying wall to wall. Could you make a small split and find out if she still lays?
Yeah, that would have been an interesting experiment, but I didn't think of it at the time. Too late now as she is in queen heaven...
This was the second dual queen hive for me this year, the other was 3 deep boxes with excluder where 2 sisters ruled up and below. The difference is that the one I described above was just a 5 frame nuc, so there was nowhere to hide - she must have lost her pheromone completely...
 

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I currently have a 3 queen hive. One (at least, maybe more) of them is laying. I expect it will be naturally reduced to one before long.
 

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<<<<Would like to hear if others have witnessed something like this. Thanks!>>>>>

This is more common than people think.
Five years ago I had a newly mated queen in a nuc, she was performing well, then she was there no longer and the bees started making queen cells. A month later I was examining another hive and she was in that hive, how do I know she was the same queen, she had BLUE number 11 on her thorax.
Of course no one would believe me, however it has happen to me another two times since(again this year number 57) and one other time that I know of for certain.
Two other beekeepers have told me the same thing, but they were not numbered
 

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This year I am learning how to work mating nucs.

I have a case where a surely queen-less nuc magically became queen-right.
Accidentally spotted a queen when installing new queen cells into the nuc.
In addition, in this exact nuc I also found a wing-less, birth-damaged virgin queen - just quietly living under the radar and ignored by anyone.

So I learned the queen situation is rather unpredictable and nothing is for sure.

Basically, the queen drifting and queen co-habitation occur more than we are told.
Again, those old books and beliefs seem to be off-target.
 

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seen several times queens "Drift" it is odd.
As well several 2 queen hives I have seen.

Did a walk away split this spring, both 1/2s had eggs 10 days later.

would agree, It is somewhat common to have 2 queens, One would need to shake thru a shaker box to see for sure.
We often when finding a queen quit looking.

IMO happens more in close proximity

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Related question - how do you guys mark the queens with numbers? I can do the colour, no problem, but I can't imagine writing a number let alone 2 digit one...
 
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