Today I Saw A Queen Bee Emerge

Today we went to Tom's place to check on the status of the #2 hive and see if the swarm/queen cells had hatched and if the queen had mated yet.

Of course, we couldn't help but check on the status of the super while we were there.

We pulled a frame and was happy to see it was fully drawn (bulging at the top actually) and filled (partially capped) with honey. Yeah!

Putting the super aside, we opened a few frames from the brood boxes.

We found a frame that we knew had queen cells on it from two weeks ago when we performed an artificial swarm.

In the picture below, you can see the queen cell with yellow circle has a neatly eaten circle around the top of the cell and the flap from the opened cell still attached. We suspected this was the viable queen that emerged.

Also below, in the purple circle is another queen cell, and you can just barely make out an opening in the cell that shows a dead queen inside. The emerged queen likely walked over and stung the other queen cell(s) through the side walls effectively ensuring she was the only queen.

This was great we thought. A queen had emerged, eliminated other queen cells and was on her way to mating flights or even returned by now.

What we saw next surprised us.

The next frame we pulled had another queen cell on it, but it was not opened, nor did it have any punctures in the side of it.

I noticed a thin circle around the top of the cell as if a queen inside had been trying to eat the top off the cell. We figured she was dead like the one in the picture above, but before I could react, a nurse bee walked over and lifted up the cap on the queen cell and a new queen walked out.

She had been chewing the cap off the top of the cell, and I happen to be there at the right moment to see her emerge!

The video below is jumpy, and I didn't get the camera turned on fast enough to capture the queen coming out of the cell (it happened so quick) but I was able to capture her moments after coming out of the cell, and walking (running) around the frame.

She was incredibly fast. I don't know if she was just stretching her legs, if she was searching for other queen cells to destroy or what, but I was amazed at her speed.

Here's what we think happened: Two weeks ago when we made the artificial swarm, we did notice lots of queen cells that were uncapped and just had an egg in them, which we also noticed some that were already capped.

We suspect the queen pictured above (in the yellow circle) emerged several days ago, killed as many other queen cells as she could find, and missed the one that emerged today. The one that emerged today must have been just an egg two weeks ago when we saw it in the queen cell.

I suppose there are at least two (maybe more) queens in the hive right now. I suppose sooner or later they'll meetup and fight to where there's only one queen left.

Although, last fall a hive at my dad's house had two laying queens in it and they were perfectly happy co-habitating for quite a long time before we finally removed one of them. So who knows.

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