Failure before launching - don't know what I am looking at yet
So I was planning to set up the cell starter yesterday. Placed a mini frame in the brood area Saturday for new eggs with the plan to transfer today. The two hives were busting at the seams. Tons of bees, lots of capped larvae. Been checking over the frames for capped cells, and so far so good. Dealing with lots of new foundationless frames being checkerboarded to give them all the room they want. Some comb not being filled all the way to the bottom, but have been thinking things were going well. It is all looking good and yesterday I braved the thunder and threat of rain to set the starter colony up. Opened the first hive that was packed Thursday, she has 1/3 the bees and most the capped brood is emerged. Yikes - started looking close, frame by frame and on the bottom of the almost finished comb is a queen cell. Then found another, and then 2 more. Yep, sure as shooting, I missed them, apparently supersede cells under my nose. I think 60 percent of the bees are gone. But they are adding honey now.
Well maybe the other hive has 3 frames of brood I can steal. Pull the top and the bars are not covered with bees. Now I know that since it is threating rain, this baby should be packed. Start the search and yep, find 2 supersede cells and one emergency style cell. This baby is done about 40 percent at least.
No eggs in either, sure hope that virgin gets mated and returns. Only one other hive that might have the volume to steal from for a starter colony (I am only going to try for 5 to 8 cells this time). I will try to check her this afternoon, but it has not be checked in 10 day, and with my record of missing queen cells, she likely is swarmed as well.
Hate these sharp turns on the learning curve. Time will tell.
Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 10 Lang hives + 14 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet