Q. My queen came outside the hive for some reason.

A. With so little context, it is difficult to give a definitive answer as to why this happened. Assuming that she came out alone and went back in, we can eliminate swarming, absconding and being ejected after having been superseded. If she’s a virgin, then it’s possible that she was preparing to do her orientation flight before mating or going for a mating flight. Otherwise, it could be a misidentified bee of another caste. If you have recently done an inspection, then it is quite likely that she fell off the frame and was trying to find her way back into the hive.

Ken Brown is an Apiculture Land Based Training tutor, Vice President of the Auckland Beekeepers Club and a keen hobbyist beekeeper.

Queen bee alone. Photo: Jonathan Wilkins, Wikimedia