The Queen: Her royal highness had clipped wings. I know because I saw her last evening outside of the hive. (In fact, she sort of popped out of the bottom entrance as I was musing over the wiggling of a worker.) She tried to fly and only got as far as she did because the wind was blowing strongly. I picked her up with a stick and a tiny burdock leaf and put her back on the landing board. She tried to fly again.
This happened multiple times during which I crowded another bee next to her and observed her more closely than I had had a chance to when installing the package. The other bees really seemed not to be interested in her--NOT a good sign. She also seemed a little clumsy and aimless (I read later than queens are graceful--this gal was not), which if you have ever spent time observing insects, is how they behave if they are sick or dying.
After she plopped again into the grass (for the last time according to my observations), I took my Lymie, incoherent self into the apartment to ask my groggy Grandpa if queen bees wings were supposed to be that short. After a somewhat round about and round about we go sort of conversation, during which I was having difficulty getting enough "oomph" out of my lungs for him to hear me, I went back out and could not locate the queen again. (By the way, the answer was what I expected...no. Some beekeepers clip their queen's wings to keep them from flying [which I guess would help with spring swarming issues], but naturally they are supposed to reach about twice the length this bees were.)
So, I am going to assume I have no queen for two reasons: 1) with those wings, she could not fly and therefore she could not get back into the hive...unless she crawled the entire way--which is possible. 2) She was acting rather ill and the workers really weren't paying her any mind. As Mr. Bush says, "Don't assume that you know more than the bees..."
I know, that if there is brood in the hive, that the bees will raise themselves a new queen if the old one dies, is killed, or absconds for whatever reason. So I determined that if I did naught else today, I was going to check my hives.
Which I did...before breakfast--but that is rather another story.
No brood: At least, as far as I could tell, I have no brood in the comb. I do have some capped honey (yes!), but no brood. This tells me that the queen had not started laying; either that or she hadn't been bred yet. The frames are not full of comb (more than last week though!) With the absence of a queen a worker bee will take on that role, but the eggs she lays will all be drones (I think--I might want to double check that).
There might be a supercedure cell being constructed (where they will raise a new queen--providing there is brood), but I do not know for certain; I am not quite sure how to tell.
All in all, it looks as if I need a new queen...and that I shouldn't fritter about for two weeks before I get one either.