After what appeared to be a near perfect start, the first attempt to get the queen to lay in the Cupkit failed. Returning the next day I found that the queen had escaped from the the Cupkit and not laid eggs. Once I found her I attempted to put her back in to the Cupkit. Whilst doing so she flew off and left the hive! Something I was not expecting or prepared for. I had no idea of what to do in such a situation, what does the queen do when she takes flight? Does she come back? Do the bees find her and swarm? I only hoped she would return to the brood box. So to support this as it was warm, sunny and not to windy I took a chance and left the hive open for about 10 minutes.
I was left with only one option for getting a queen to lay in the Cupkit so as not to delay the process further, this was to place the queen from hive No.2 in the Cupkit and use her as the mother for my new queens. After had done this successfully a second time I put hive No.1 back together and hoped the queen had returned to the colony.
The next day eggs were laid in the Cupkit and the queen released back into hive No.2. Yesterday I pushed in the slide that separates the two brood boxes making the top colony queenless by sealing the queen in the bottom box. A new entrance at the rear of the bottom box has been opened to allow the bees to fly from the bottom box. Bees returning to the hive will return to the front of the hive and use the original entrance that allows access to to top brood box, increasing the concentration of bees in this box. This is important as today i placed the cells from the Cupkit with larvae less than 24hrs old into this top box. The now overcrowded and queenless bees in the top box also have only sealed brood so will hopefully make queen cells from the 10 larvae that have been added.
I also took the opportunity to look through the bottom brood box to see if the queen had returned to the hive after flying off unexpectedly. If at all I hoped i would find eggs but as luck would have it she was on the third frame I looked at together with freshly laid eggs. So far so good, we are still on track although the genes (mother) are different to what I had hoped.