I recently collected 15 packages of bees. All was proceeding well with the 15 new hives and after about a week I noticed that two hives had heaps of bees bearding on the front of their hive boxes. After inspecting all the hives I discovered that one hive was completely empty and another was very low on bee numbers and were queenless. I ordered a Ligurian queen from King Island (just to try that strain) and she arrived safe and sound with a lovely pink spot on her abdomen (she was so easy to spot) and was placed into the queenless hive. The small number of bees that were in the hive appeared to accept her and went to work releasing her from her cage, so I left them to it and checked to see how they were doing releasing her a few days later when I gave them some sugar water, as there is not much happening pollen and nectar wise around here at the moment. To my utter amazement there was no sign of my Ligurian lady, but instead there she was...a big, fat Italian queen going about her business as though she'd always been there!!!
I know that she wasn't there when I checked the hive and decided to re-queen because there were so few bees that she would have been very easy to spot, given her size (she's big!). I've checked all my other new hives and each one has a queen doing what queens do, so it seems that she just knocked on the drawbridge and when they let her in, she killed the Ligurian and took over the throne...go figure! :? 8-) :?