How weird is this? I have two queens in one hive! :shock:
This was the walkaway split I made April 2nd, keeping the marked queen from the original hive with it. This was the scrawny little queen that moved thrugh the excluder when I was trying to raise queens. It's been slow to build back up, and through the past month or so I found queen cells in the hive and removed them. I decided to leave the one I found on April 23rd in the hive, figuring the bees knew what they wanted to do. As recently as May 7th I saw the marked queen in the hive.
Today I looked in the hive and found a large, plump unmarked queen. I guessed they superceded the old one. There were several frames of cappped and uncapped brood, and eggs in the upper box of the hive. It didn't seem right that a new queen not 10 days old would be so healthy looking and prolific. (For instance, the queen I found in the hive that swarmed 12 days ago is still running around unmated.) After replacing the frames, I decided to inspect again. On the second frame in I found the marked queen. She was just going about her business like nothing was wrong. I looked again for the other queen -- and found her again on the fifth frame in. She, too, was just going about her business like nothing was wrong. I tried to take pictures, but I only had my phone-camera with me, and I couldn't work the buttons and move the frame around at the same time. I swear -- it was another queen!
The only thing I can figure is this new queen must have been in the hive since emerging shortly after 4/23. I never saw her before because I never looked further after spotting the marked queen. The hive is not overcrowded by any means. In fact, I'd been thinking a week or two ago that I may have put the second box on too soon. But the queens aren't keeping in separate boxes, they were both in the top box with only two frames of comb between them.
Should I split the older marked queen off into a nuc and leave the new queen in the full hive? She was new last year. Or should I just see if the hive continues this way and observe what happens?