Success! All four of the sections of my mating box contain laying queens! The sun was so obscured by smoke today that seeing eggs was practically impossible. Thanks to my handy cell phone camera, I was able to photograph my frames on the macro setting and enlarge the image enough to determine if my queens were laying. (Let’s hear it for assistive technology”!)
One of the queenright sections seems to be several days ahead of the others. It is filled with well-developed larvae, many nurse bees, nectar and pollen stores while the other three contain only eggs, their queens, and a handful of workers. The entrance of this precocious section faces the direction of the original, unsectioned colony, and I am curious to know if this has anything to do with the difference in development of the various compartments. It remains to be seen if the other queens’ sections will gain support as the eggs hatch and the brood pheromone there strengthens.