Here’s a brief recap of the saga known as They Killed Their Queens: Mated queens (in standard cages with candy plugs) were added to three splits about 25 days ago which were checked five days later (July 18th) and the following was found:
Split #1: The new queen DEAD inside her opened cage and several capped supersedure cells. Today (18 days later): A naturally mated queen, because Life Finds a Way. Happy Ending #1, or as good at it gets anyway.
Split #2: The new queen alive and one supersedure cell full of royal jelly. Five days later: Fresh eggs and supersedure cell gone. Happy Ending #2.
Split #3: The new queen M.I.A. (possibly dead) and several capped supersedure cells. Today (18 days later): One capped supersedure cell remaining. Two open supersedure cells. No fresh brood. No sign of a queen. Happy Ending status: to be determined.
Clearly, the mated queen was killed in Split #3 as well. If they’re still holding on to a supersedure cell, they might not have a viable queen yet. Unlike Split #1 that naturally requeened and began bringing in pollen, I don’t see these bees bringing in pollen. And when I pulled a few frames, the bees just sat there on the frames doing nothing. That’s strange. I think they’ve been queenless for too long and they’re losing their sense of purpose. I’ve seen the same type of thing happen to wintering colonies. The bees become listless.
If the queen in the supersedure cell emerges soon, the colony might have a chance. But as is the case with five of my six coloines, they will need a significant injection of brood frames to stay alive, and I have only one colony that’s large enough to maybe pull some brood from.
I will have to perform a monumental juggling act over the next two or three weeks if I can’t get any brood frames from my fellow beekeepers.