Hi all! Maybe someday I'll be smart enough to help somebody out once.
I went out to my one hive yesterday and did some stuff (changed out the FGMO cords and removed the grease patties, checked brood, bee apperance, measured cell sizes, sugared for mites and mite count, checked for honey and pollen and SHB) that is becoming routine after five times in six-and-a-half weeks. I found brood in various stages along with fifteen capped and being capped drone brood. The queen showed up and she's the same one they raised out of the emergency cells (same small black spot on abdomen at wing's edge and one lighter leg) they did right after I got them from the wall.
Well I also found a supercedure cell with uncapped queen larvae inside and she's pretty good sized to boot. The current queen isn't too bad on brood patterning, however she lays all over the place unless that cell has nectar/honey. Her mother, on the other hand, had an excellent textbook brood pattern. Right now I am considering letting them supercede (I think they will even if I try and stop them since it's their future they are deciding) and quickly build a three frame nuc to bank her with one frame of brood and one food and one empty foundationless frame. My thoughts are that the weather can normally be pretty mild here until the end of October and then it's all over the place until December. They are still working Trumpet Creeper and have started to bring in something else and lots of pollen.
If all goes well and the new queen works out the hive will have about a month to try and play catch up for the winter. If they can't catch up in time and the new queen is a keeper then I can always kill or leave the old queen and do a newspaper type combine to up the numbers. If the number of the hive are good I was thinking of building an observation hive and talk my wife into having it inside with an access tube to the outdoors.
I am concerned because my numbers are low any way and build up was even more delayed with the girls raising their current queen. Now with a new queen on the way I'm afraid it's too close to winter and I'm dooming them. On the other hand I could move both queens and order a laying queen and have hopefully three that can still be made into one if needed. What do you think?