My Italian queen was laying beautiful and bountiful brood way up into December. I opened the hive 3 weeks ago and couldn't find her, nor any capped brood nor did I see any eggs. Went back in last Saturday and found lots of drone brood, capped and uncapped, scattered around. Went back in yesterday and same deal, but I did find a few eggs in shallow cells. I also have chalkbrood. I assume I'm back to a laying workers condition. There are a couple of cells that might be queen cells, but they look abnormal. I have 2 pkgs of Italians and 2 nucs of Carniolans on order, but it will be April before I get them. I'm trying to find a hive to buy to unite these bees with, but they are scarce this year. I WILL have multiple hives by this fall, so I will at least have some logistical options to play with.
The eggs you see, are there one to a cell or more? One is usually from a queen. Multiples are sometimes seen when a queen first starts laying but soon stop. Multiples are almost always laying workers.
It may be if they had chaulkbrood that the queen took a break to break the cycle. My queen in my observation hive did this when they had chaulkbrood. She quit laying for a couple of weeks. Either that or the workers cleaned out the cells before they hatched.