Did a full inspection of all of the hives and nucs today.
The green hive is still doing well. After I made the splits last week, I put undrawn foundation in the top brood box. Later I had some second thoughts at that, as I wanted to give the queen someplace to lay without having to have her workers draw out all of the comb. So today I put some fully drawn comb in between the frames of just foundation (like this: FFCFCFCFCF where F is a foundation frame, and C is a comb [drawn out] frame). That way she can have immediate places to lay eggs.
You can see how populous the bottom brood chamber is (as viewed from above):
I also checked the honey super. They had started drawing out some of the foundation, so I am still hopeful this year. I would say this hive is doing just fine!
I took a quick peek into each of the nucs. They are also doing fine as far as I can tell. The bees in both nucs are eating the pollen patties I put in there. I also checked to make sure the queen cells had hatched - they had. Here's a picture of the brown nuc's queen cell - sorry it is out of focus, the camera wouldn't focus on the cell. But you can see the opening where the queen hatched:
The gray nuc also had a hatched queen cell. So according to bee math, the mated queen should start laying in a little over 2 weeks. I'll leave them alone until June 12th (3 weeks) and then re-check. They will appreciate not being messed with...
Ah, the brown hive... This weekend was make-or-break for the (as yet non-existent) queen. There was plenty of time to see eggs, based on the appearance of the queen cell a while ago. I didn't have a lot of faith in seeing any, as 1) this hive has not done well making a queen in the past, and 2) the queen cell looked small. Here's the amount of bees in the bottom brood box (compare with the picture from the green hive above):
After a frame-by-frame inspection, I have concluded that definitely there is no queen there. The hive itself also told me this, as the overall "buzz" of the beehive is different (sounding a little more annoyed) which is characteristic of a queenless hive.
So I called up a fellow beekeeper from the Bee Club who raises queens. He lives 1 1/2 hours away, and had a new queen available for me. So after a half a tank of gas and $25 later, I have a new queen (a very expensive bug, no?). I could have ordered one mail-order, but 1) it would cost more than $25 (with shipping), and 2) this queen is a northern bred queen, not one from Georgia, and 3) I would have to wait more time. Here she is in her queen cage (you can see the blue dot on her back in this shot):
It was still early evening so I installed her in the hive directly, by attaching a piece of cardboard with a thumbtack and thumbtacking it to an adjacent frame:
The queen cage is a little slanted because of the fact that the walls of the cage are thin, and I couldn't push a thumbtack through the walls into the chamber - I had to do it toward the end. The bees don't mind the tilted cage. Also, I left out a frame to leave room for the bees to feed the queen.
I'll check back in a few days to make sure they have released her.
So the brown hive now has a queen (oh, by the way, the title of this post is a reference to a song by Queen - get it?)