It took about a week to go from a hive with laying workers to a hive with a proper queen. After shaking out all the bees and separating the field bees from the eggs, brood, and nurse bees I took from another hive and introducing a queen cage, I waited about a week to see if it was successful. Patience is not my strongest virtue, which made it hard to wait the recommended time to check the queen, and I admit I peeked a few days ago.
Today, I checked again and not only had the queen been released, but she’s already started laying eggs and some have grown into larva, so she was probably released the same evening I peeked. What a relief! The other good news is the bees on both sides of the paper have chewed holes and are passing through from one side to the other. I felt like that was a good sign it would be ok to merge the two parts into one deep hive body. I removed frames with no wax on them and moved drawn frames to the outer edges. I carefully moved frames of larva and brood from the top box to the bottom, waiting a bit after each move to make sure all the bees were getting along. Finally, I moved the frame with my Cordovan queen into the box. I waited a bit, lifted the frame back out to see if any bees were attacking her. But all was calm. I did it again, and still all the bees were calm. They are one happy family now and will hopefully thrive through the coming months. Considering how fast she started laying, combined with the availability of drawn comb, I believe the hive will increase rapidly.
The queen in this hive is very dark, with an abdomen almost black. I’m curious to see what her offspring will look like. I’ll post pictures when they begin to emerge in about three weeks.