(this is really just an addendum to today's early post)
Well I have either just really foolishly flushed twenty-five dollars down the toilet or I have successfully requeened the hive. Not a whole lot of margin for error there. I went through every frame of both the brood box and the super on the hive that I still believe (up until moments ago) to be queenless. I saw not a single speck of new brood or eggs (other than that which we placed in the box on Sunday). I also did not see any “emergency” queen cells. This worries me because, according to the inspector, if there was not a queen present then the workers should have drawn an “emergency” queen cell from the brood I transplanted. It is his stance that no sign of emergency cells mean, in fact, they have a queen.
I am not entirely sure I did the right thing and I actually have approximately twenty-four to forty-eight hours to change my mind. It should take that long for the sugar cork to be eaten away and allow the queen and her entourage to escape from the queen cage. I may go out again tomorrow and take another look through the hive but I went, carefully, through every frame looking at every cell for sign of brood and scanning intently for the queen. I have seen the queen in the split we made so I at least now have a better idea what she looks like. She is long and slender and a slightly different color from the others.
I may have made a mistake. I do not know. But I had to go with my gut on this one and I just do not think there was a queen in that box or if there was a queen I think she must have been trapped during the terrible weather we had last week and therefore missed her mating flight, remaining a virgin and of no use to me whatsoever. I know that sounds harsh but I would rather loose/kill one queen bee than lose my whole hive, you know, sacrificing one for the good of many and all.
I am still considering isolating her with some bees in a nuc box and waiting to see if anything starts happening in my hive. If I do that and if there is a mated queen in that box and she starts producing then I would have four hives instead of three, because the nuc could then be colonized. In this instance the worst case scenario is if there was no queen in the original hive then I could combine it with the nuc and go back to three hives. Also, having several hives now does not preclude me from combining them closer to winter. If none of them are super strong when fall gets closer I can always kill the queen of one colony and combine two or more boxes together for a large hive with a better chance of surviving through the brutally long cold months.
This like everything else in my life right now feels adrift with no clear sense of direction. The bees have become some kind of living metaphor for my inability to move decisively in any direction. I feel that I cannot stand still because it feels stagnant but I feel that when I make a decision to move one direction or another a door is promptly closed. I want to do right by my bees and I want to seek God’s will for my life but days like today I feel like I have lost the secret decoder ring for both.