Ok, First I am new but try to read and try to be knowledgable. My collection so far is The §¤«£¿æ, and Michael Bush's Practical bee keeper, Magnum's top bar hive (Ph.D researcher) and some of beekeeping for dummies and this forum.
But ..... Last year our first hive was taken out by SHB. So this year started in march with two packages from WolfCreek. small cell. So far pretty happy with the bees. My hive built the equivalent of 25 bars in those few weeks and then went into swarm mode with the bee population very large. Even with 25 bars the queen was still outlaying the bees drawing comb and fighting with the foragers. (sorry that paragraph is just background).
The other hive tried swarming a bit earlier but was strong. Took the swarm cells and made 4 Nucs. Only one had the queen. (though she may have actually left in a swarm). We had one but I think it returned to the hive and not sure which hive. Of the 4 Nucs,
Nuc 1 Has a capped queen cell with a paper brown top so any day now.
Nuc 2 now has a queen,
Nuc 4 has eggs but can't find the queen and each cell has 2-4 eggs in it. While the pattern is solid some of the eggs are in the bottom some are on the side of the cell. There isn't much empty comb. Might be a laying worker though I'm still hoping for a young queen. Plan on giving it til the weekend to see if what I can see.
Nuc 3 (from here out named the robbed Nuc) has a queen cell has the paper brown top so anyday now. For now I think the other Nuc don't need my intervention. This hive though I believe has a low population and I think is being robbed. I'd like to save the queen cell. What are my best options for doing this. The frames in it are also getting very light for almost no bees.
Here is my first thought. Close it up this evening. Look for bees trying to get in, in the morning (confirmation of a newbie that it is being robbed). Take what few bees are actually in the hive and the queen cell and place them in the nuc at a different location. Add a frame of about to hatch bees from the backstory strong hive. Add a frame of larva and the bees on that frame (hopefully nurse bees). Shake one frame of bees into the hive. The frames have a good honey band at the top so I think that would be enough to begin with. Close the hive for 24 hours, place something in front to force reorientation when opening the next day. The near empty frame in there now would go into the Nuc with my super laying queen split off the strong hive.
According to UF our dearth starts in June but from my readings I don't believe this is true I think I still have at least 2-4 weeks of flow left. We are on a lake with a large surrounding area of Chinese Tallow which has just started blooming. Magnolia is coming in and crepe myrtle will be bearing pollen soon. We have had terribly dry weather here, but the Tallow of course is close to the lake which also has 'plains' in it and lilies.
The second option would be to put the cell in the Nuc with the possible laying worker but if it is a queen one of them will be dead or swarm.
I'm trying to maximize the good queens here because I have 3 Nuc/1 hive that might not have a queen so every queen counts. I believe the others actually are going to be queen right given time but I do have limited resources from this first season.
I would be very appreciative of constructive comments.