My queen took off
by Dana Campbell
I recently installed package bees. After almost a week, I opened them to check on them. The queen cage had the candy eaten and she was free to move around. However she was still in the cage (attendant bees still active). I did not notice she was still in there until I removed the cage. I looked again and she was gone. I checked through the hive and did not see her (marked queen). My question is: will she return or will I have to get a new queen? Thanks
If you're sure the queen is not in the hive, you'll have to get a replacement. She won't return on her own. But be certain she's not in the hive before ordering a replacement.
Queens can be tricky to find sometimes -- even when they are marked. If it were me, I'd wait a few days, and then check the hive again to see if any eggs have been laid. If you see eggs, then the queen is present (except in the case of laying workers, which would be quite unlikely in this case).
Don't wait too long to order another queen. But do be certain that the original queen is no longer in the hive. I'd probably wait 4 or 5 days, and then do a thorough search for the queen/eggs. If it's apparent that there's no queen at that point, then get a replacement as quickly as possible.