Ok - back down to Basil with the queen cage and ready for another attempt to cage her. And there she was - still on the same frame as previous days. Out with the cage and popped it over her then carefully closed the cage and she was safe.
My plan was to locate her in a mini mating nuc with some house bees for company and see if she does manage to get mated. I'd already steam cleaned the mating nuc and it was now ready for her and some house bees. Back to Basil and I shook some house bees into a margarine tub and gave them a wee spray of water to damp them a little. Into the nuc they went. Now to introduce their queen ... positioning the cage over the frames I carefully slid the cage cover open. And then disaster ... my fingers slipped and the cage cover closed again - cutting the queen clean in half as she was already making an exit :(
Oh dear. Never mind. To be honest, my original plan was to cull her anyway - it just means I wasted a couple of hours doing the prep work before I killed her. Bummer!
So tomorrow, it's on with the merge of Basil with Poppy.