If you look closely you should see the queen in the above photo. She is to the right of the photo with a red marking and a clipped wing. She is very long in comparison to a worker bee, and in my opinion, beautiful.
This is the queen from the nuc that I bought in. She was already clipped and marked by the breeder. The red mark makes it much easier to spot her when going through the hives' many frames. The one clipped wing prevents her from flying. The theory is that if she decides to leave the hive with a swarm, she would fall to the ground beside the hive. She may climb back up into the hive or die. But the worker bees of the swarm would return to the original hive. A new queen would be reared and the strength/population of the hive would not be effected. I hope to mark and clip every queen next spring to prevent loss of honey production.
The apidea box failed as I had expected. They tore out the queen cell immediately, but a lesson learned and I will not be repeating that error twice!
I had removed the queen cell from a hive that had eggs present and I was not sure if the queen was present. It turns out that she was not present and I took their only hope of a queen replacement. I give them a fresh frame of brood from another hive and will check on them in a few days.
I reunited another two hives together with newspaper. One requeened well with good brood pattern and stores while the other did not. They have a better chance of survival through winter/spring if they are reunited into a very strong colony. I placed the brood box on top of each other with newspaper separating both boxes. It will take them a day to open a hole in the paper but by then the queen pheromones should be present in both boxes, allowing the bees to recognise each other as one hive under one queen. This hive can be seen in the photo above.
I removed the apiguard empty packets and placed feeders on each hive. The nuc has been moved into a full hive box. I do not wish to overwinter a nuc or any weak hives. I may unite the nuc to a stronger hive yet.
I hope to go into winter with three strong hives and come out of spring with three strong hives.
In the next few weeks I will close in the mesh floors and fit mouse guards. Until October, I will be feeding them heavily with sugar syrup, after that they will cluster and any feeding is too late.