Reflections upon opening a nuc this evening
I opened a 4-frame bee nuc, or small hive, a bit ago to see if the new queen was laying yet. Found a very nice dark queen who appeared to be mated and ready to go to work. But then on the next frame I found another, golden, virgin queen. Actually she had BEEN a virgin, since she had mating sign protruding from her abdomen, a clear indication that she'd just come back from her honeymoon (so to speak) and around 15 drones had recently died with smiles on their proverbial faces.
This is unusual for several reasons, none of which nonbeekeepers probably care about (sorry about that). Finding two queens in the same hive is really rare. The first one to emerge does in all the competition before they can fight back. Finding a virgin with evidence of having mated still present is just as rare. And finding both rarities in the same hive ... the odds stagger the imagination.
The only thing normal? My camera was safely sitting here in the house by the laptop.