Don't panic - nothing bad has happened to Queen Sarah, and her colony in the nucleus. I was recently speaking to Steve, another local beekeeper, who had sadly had his bees wiped out by wasps (have I mentioned that wasps are evil?)
I mentioned that I had the colony in the nucleus, and would he be interested in putting them into his (now vacant) hive? Indeed he would!
This is good news - I have over-wintered bees in the nucleus before, but I prefer the extra storage space (for storing extra honey) that a hive provides, as it reduces the risk of the bees running out of honey stores in the winter. So moving Sarah's colony to Steve's full-size hive gives them the best chance of making it through winter - and Steve gets to be a beekeeper again. Everybody wins!
On Tuesday evening, Steve and I met at the apiary at dusk, secured the nucleus (gaffer tape was involved) and loaded it into Steve's car, ready for him to move the bees into his hive the following day. If you're wondering why we met at dusk, it's because we needed to wait until all the foraging bees had returned to the hive - otherwise some very confused bees would be wondering where their home had suddenly disappeared to!
So here's a final look at Queen Sarah's colony, and I hope they have a prosperous future: