New queen sourced and delivered. Off to the apiary with a friend to find and remove the old queen and put the new queen in the hive. Knowing how defensive these bees are, my friend and I both had unusual levels of protection; leather gloves, wellington boots etc. A few combs into the hive it became apparent that there were less bees around and they were not being at all defensive, then we found out why......
Queen cup and open queen cell
Yes, the angry queen had left with a swarm and there was no sign of a new queen or brood in the hive. Still plenty of bees though! I fear she has failed to mate.
I really must get the bees a beekeeping book so that they know what they should be doing! ;-)
The new queen in now in the hive, still in the queen cage. Hopefully she'll be accepted by the colony and all will return to normal.
If we had seasonal weather as we should, beekeeping would be a lot easier! After eight weeks of cool and rainy weather we have a few days of summer weather forecast, at last! If that carries on until the end of October (!) I may get away without feeding to get them through the winter!