The saga continues. We had a new queen, but the numbers of her subjects had dwindled dramatically. Almost 4 weeks had passed since we got those bees, and their normal lifespan is about 6 weeks. There were barely enough bees to cover a single comb. Swift action was again called for in order to save the colony.
Once again we were able to draw on the very supportive bee-keeping community in Seattle. A veteran bee-keeper agreed to give us an infusion of worker and nurse bees to get us over the hump. It was a very generous gesture: not only did we get more than a pound of bees, but he also gave us a comb of brood and a queen introduction cage.
Yes, the queen had to go back into a cage, having just recently been released from her previous confinement. But anytime you introduce bees from a different hive, you need to protect the queen while they get accustomed to her pheromones.
So far things look good: the queen is still looking healthy, the new bees are working on comb, and they even successfully fended off robbers coming from our strong hive #1. According to schedule, the queen should be free again today, and finally be able to get to laying. Fingers crossed.