I am attempting to save a colony that is the result of a Sept 10th swarm. The story goes..
Sept 10th the swarm, I had no idea that this was about to happen. I had all but stopped going in the hives. Anyway, they settled on a limb 80ft up on a gum tree. I brought them back to earth with a couple well placed shots from an AK-47. I gatherd up the bees and got them in a hive and thought it was all good.
Sept 11th the start of a nuc. I got the bright idea to capitalize on the swarm and use one of the 3 queen cells left behind to start a nuc. I used a frame from the hive that swarmed that had a queen cell and other brood or honey frames from other donor hives to make a 5 frame nuc.
I left every thing alone for about three weeks then went in to take a peek. What I found wasn't what I wanted. The nuc was queenless. The cell had hatched but I guess she didn't make it back from the mating flight. The hived swarm was worse than queenless, they had gone laying worker.
I decided to shake out the laying worker and then combine the nuc with the remainder. I transported the laying worker hive about 1/4 mile from the house and shook all the bees on the ground. When I got back I put the hive back in place. At dusk I did a news paper combine with the nuc and the forragers from the laying worker.
I still needed a queen. I was able to find a guy in North Carolina that still had a queen. Due to work, shipping and such I was unable to get the queen in the hive until Oct 16. Nine days later I released the queen and have left the colony alone until the day befor yesterday Nov 13th.
Nov 13th.. I found that the queen had been accepted but she has not started laying yet.
Now the question:I have a really strong hive with lots of stores and brood. Should I grab a frame of capped brood from them to supplement the aging bees in the "project" hive or should I see if they raise their own brood this late in the year? I live in the low country of South Carolina, 30mi from the coast. The weather today is kinda crappy but next week it's supposed to be in the upper sixtys and sunny. The bees are still bringing in pollen and a small amount of nectar from somewhere. I am in my first year and I want to do right thing for that queen. I would really like to use her bloodline to increase my hives. My Italian girls got eaten up with varroa mites this season to the point of deformmed wings. But that is another story.
Could some more experienced Beekeepers throw out some wisdom here. I know it's really late in the year for this kinda thing but I just had to try something.