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Hi! My significant other (SO) and I are beginning beekeepers (he more than I, to be honest). For some context, this is a new hive we obtained the first week of May from Bee Weavers in Navasota. The hive was doing really well, so much so that we needed to add a super 3 weeks ago.

I am posting this question because we had a problem doing a hive inspection just under 2 weeks ago. We did not see the queen, but went along with the hive inspection, resting the comb on the ground as we went. All seemed fine, save for extreme bearding on the outside of the hive. From our research and speaking to a few local beekeepers, we determined that the bearding was due to the extreme southeast Texas heat.

Four days later, my SO walked in the garden and noticed a beard of bees on the ground. Upon further inspection, he saw Lucy (our queen bee) on the ground being attended by worker bees. He grabbed a stick, let her walk onto it, and assisted her back to the hive entrance (her wings are clipped). He said she went in without incident, no bees attacked her. We figure she fell out during the inspection and spent 4.5 days on the ground.

Now, we normally do a hive inspection weekly, but last weekend was filled with severe thunderstorms. Cut to today, and my SO just completed a hive inspection at noon. He was unable to find Lucy (again, not uncommon), but noticed that some queen cells were present. He killed those off, in case they were created during those 4.5 days of Lucy being on the ground. No egg cells were noticed, but he did notice larvae cells (which could be old).

He also noticed that the bees were slightly more aggressive than normal. This is concerning, since we don't know if the hive is queenless now. So, basically, we just need some advice as to what to look for, and what to do next. Should we just wait for the next weekly hive inspection?

Also, a curious factor: 3 days ago, our neighbor waved us down to let us know that she had a huge swarm on her tree. It didn't seem to be ours, since we still have bees in the hive. My SO placed a nuke box under the tree to attempt to capture them, but they did not take to it. This may not have anything to do with our queen issue, and may just be a coincidence, but I can't know for certain.

Really any information anyone can provide would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
 

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I would have taken the frame with queen cells and made a nuc with that frame and a few frames of nurse bees and split the hive since the hard work of making a new queen was done for you, if you can catch and mark the queen that would be good, and putting the frames on the ground is NOT a good idea, either buy a bench that holds the frames or make one, even an empty super to put the frames in during inspection will help prevent the queen from walking off...
did you bait the nuc box with lemon grass oil to catch the swarm? any way of cutting the limb down to get the swarm?
 

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Bob got this covered. build a bench, use a folding table, in worst case just use the hive lid to set on the grass and set the top box on it.
 
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