I'll give some history first:
Hived package 4/8/08
Checked for eggs about 7-10 days later. Thought queen was laying... determined she wasn't about 3 days later. Couldn't find the queen either.
Took brood from another hive and put in queenless hive.
Queen cells spotted about 5 days later.
Checked hive 5/7/08 7 empty queen cells, could not find a queen, no eggs either.
Can I still hope that there is a queen in this hive and that she hasn't mated yet to start laying?
We lost 2 queens this spring and have the same situation in the second hive too. The second hive only had 5 queen cells though.
There are 3 hives total in this one location... plenty of drones.
How does weather affect the mating flights? Weather here has been cold, nice, rainy, snowy, sunny... for the last 10 days. If the bees are flying, I am assuming that a queen could fly too. There have been plenty of days that the bees have been flying.
Anyway, I thought we were going to be OK with raising our own queens. We have already spent too much on bees and equipment this year... didn't want to go into buying pricey queens. Found a few places that were reasonable but they weren't able to ship until the middle of May.