>Beegee, Michael, anyone else, what do you make of the sparse but definite presence of single eggs in some of the brood cells?
More than likely it's a queen. Laying workers usually don't lay one egg to a cell.
>Also, if there's no queen and there's a remaining queen swarm cell, will she stay put or swarm once emerged?
Can't say. The bees will do what they want. But if there is a queen laying and they have swarmed then it's been a few days or weeks since the swarm right? Otherwise there wouldn't be time for the queen to emerge and mate and start laying. If this is true then maybe the cell you saw isn't going to emerge. I'm always kind of hesitant to go destroying queen cells unless I am absolutely positive there is a queen and that means seeing her.
>When does one throw in the towel and prder a new queen?
It's a tough choice and one I have to make often enough that you'd think I'd have a cut and dried answer. I try to find her. I try to beleive she is there and look for her and look for eggs. If I'm seeing single eggs in cells I would wait and see. If I'm seeing multiple eggs, I'm already in touble, but I'd get a queen and try to introduce her very gradually. If you're not seeing any eggs and can't find the queen, it may be that a virgin is just to fast for you. They hide from the light and sometimes it takes a week or a week and a half for them to emerge, mate and start laying regulary. I have often bought a queen because I thought they were queenless and then found a different queen when I checked the hive next. The problem is that sometimes I've been sure there must be a virgin queen and ended up with a laying worker.
>And any recommendations from whom to order? Dale, you're in the mid-Atlantic. Where do you get new queens when needed?
I'm not in the mid-Atlantic, but I just bought some from McCary that looked nice. I haven't had them long enough to say how they will do, but everyone else who has them seems to love them. I've ordered from Walter T. Kellys and liked them. I've gotten them from Hardemans and Wilbanks and liked them. I've gotten them from B Weaver for years and only recently had any problems with them and they are saying they are aware of that and are breeding for gentleness again.