Just some rambling here.

I was checking on my queens in the mating nucs yesterday. Most are laying (because I found nice single eggs in the bottoms of the cells) and most are in two frame nucs (so I only have to search two frames) and I could still only find about half of them. I can usually find a queen in a booming hive with five mediums for a brood chamber in just a few frames of looking, but these newly mated quees are about as shy and runny as a virgin queen is. The ones I found were often in the bottom of the hive or on the side wall and not the comb. One I spotted on the bottom and as I watched her (I was not doing anything) she ran right out the front entrance. I used my hand and chased her back in. I was wondering if she was going to try to fly.

Another hive I pulled the old queen cell cup that was capped and about to emerge when I put it in and found it had a queen larvae in it well fed. Further searching found a little comb out from the face of the regular comb, like they build when they don't like plastic, it was about three inches long by two inches wide and had three more queen cells on it also with well fed larvae. There were also eggs and larvae in the combs, so I'm sure there's a queen somewhere. These were hanging down like swarm cells. I never did find the queen, but I found one capped queen cell too, so I left it, in case there is a problem with the queen and put the others in nucs to see if they will finish them. It's hard to imagine that a two medium frame nuc is trying to swarm and it isn't even crowded. It did have a lot of eggs and some brood though. So it's also hard to imagine they are superceding a queen who has just started to lay and is laying very well.

I made a bunch of two frame nucs (a little wide to allow for a queen cell and maybe some fat combs). I really like them for mating nucs. I also made a 10 frame box with dividers to make it into four two frame nucs. I kind of liked the divided box, but it's hard to get a lid that isn't warped enough for a bee to get from one chamber to the next, and if I use a thin plywood top that I can weight down enough to keep that from happening, then it's hard to work with all four open at once.

Anyway, what I did was take some 10 frame deeps and cut them to 7 1/2" wide. I used 1 by eights for dividers and dadoed three grooves. The center one comes through the handle but the divider closes it. I drilled one hole for each chamber in the four directions so the queens won't get confused and go into the wrong nuc.

It seemed to work well and I think I will make a few more and see if I can work out the lid problems.