I found capped cells, no eggs and the dieting queen the other day. Good thing because I can't go up thirty foot ladder anymore. I artificially swarmed them and am letting the hive have two of the cells to raise a new queen. I checkerboarded them and all that but no guarantee they still won't swarm. Once it is in their head, it is sometimes difficult to keep them down on the farm. I put the other cells in little mating nuc size splits and will see what happens.
Using this as a cue, I took the queens out of the equally strong ones and put them above a queen excluder and a super on a frame of wet brood. Hopefully the queens will keep laying above and gather a following of nurse bees. The main colony can raise a new queen with the two day old larvae I notched cells on . I will get an early honey crop, a brood break and re queened. The old queen will be moved in a few days for an increase split. The bees normally will supercede her and it is theoretically a beautiful plan if it works.