On the subject of Queens..
.. for every positive i have had this year i have had just as many negatives..in fact the worst year yet..
I checked a colony i united last week over news paper and air freshener and she is in there laying like a train..
I checked the hive next door with a supposedly laying Queen in there..on removing the supers to get to the brood box i spotted this super frame above the Queen excluder full of drone brood..
This is the hive where the Queen vanished a couple of weeks ago and then reappeared with the virgin Queen disappearing so maybe she is getting through the excluder but why only drone brood..
When i did get to the brood box NO eggs and no Queen but three Queen cells which where knocked down to one yet again..
I went through a third colony that got a test frame last week but never produced any Queen cells..today i found Queen cells so i knocked them all down and united the colony with a laying Queen colony..
I went through a fourth colony and the bees are starting to dwindle..no eggs/larvae and border line for a Queen to be mated and get laying..
I went through a fifth and the same as above..
The last one i went through with a Virgin in there give me that feeling of winning the lottery..eggs and brood in all stages so i have managed to keep hold of one virgin Queen that got mated out of seven this year..
That gives me hope that i can make some nucs up with bought in Queens BUT not as many as i planned to do..not too worry anything is better than nothing..
To reflect back on this season so far..i came out of winter with seven strong colonies..after the spring flow.. i ended up with ten colonies..some with Queen cells and some with laying Queens in Nucs from artificial swarms..all the laying Queens are united now which gives me three strong colonies and one newly laying Queen colony..not what i wanted but better than nothing..
So this year i am going to go over board and go past my ten hive limit going into winter when i buy some mated Queens in..it might lessen my summer crop but it should boost next years crop if the poop does not hit the fan like this year..