My recent experience with 20 new queens I think illustrates why it is a good idea to check your queens during introduction. I had gone away for the Easter weekend, leaving all 20 Strachan New World Carniolan queens caged in the new splits. On Monday morning with Gary, my helper, we began the inspections, starting with hive 520. Ten of the queens were already out and calm on the comb. Five others were still caged, but calm, so I released those, confident they are accepted.
Number hive 516 surprised me, when I saw an old queen marked yellow, and my new queen being balled. I quickly re-caged the new queen, and left the old queen in the split. Later we checked the original production hive source of the bees for split 516, and then reintroduced the new queen to it, after cutting out new queen cells.
Number 509 was out, but being balled, so I re-caged her as well.
When I got to 502, the queen was still in her cage, but bees were in it with her. She had simply not merged from the cage yet. I urged her out, and she instantly flew away. We waited a few minutes, and the queen eventually landed on my spare equipment near the split. I reached for her, and again she flew.
While waiting for 502 to settle, we inspected 501, and could not find her in the split. Eventually, we found a queen on the grass outside of the split, and caged her. Not knowing which split the queen came from we left this one caged in 501.
Later we returned to deal with the now queenless 502. Surprise again! We found a queen resting on top of one of the splits, surrounded by bees. I re-caged her, added a frame of brood from another hive, and reset her into 502. All queens are currently accounted for.
What an adventure!