This a follow up about my weak(est) hive.
I have one location with two hives, neither one doing too hot, one doing lousy. It does not have enough stores to get through winter. I'm feeding, but its probably hopeless.
On that hive, I have not been able to find the queen since May. Part of the problem is that I'm not very good at spotting unmarked queens. (Oddly enough, my four year old son is pretty good at it until his attention span runs dry, but he has not found the queen on this one either.) I've seen eggs and brood, just never the queen. The queen that I put in there in May (which I never again saw) was a marked Russian queen. I think the may have superseded her at some point, but I'm not sure.
Two weeks ago, I found what looked like capped queen cells (looked like supersedure cells), except they were smaller than usual. Last weekend, they had torn all of those down. I could not find the queen. Also, no brood. Really, not that many bees either. No drone cells. Just nothing going on at all.
I want to combine this hive with the other one. However, I do not want to put a queen from this hive into my other hive and get the other queen killed by accident. However, I can't find a queen in this stupid hive.
So here's my questions:
1. Could it be that this hive has just gone queenless? At this time of year, if a hive goes queenless do they just not lay at all? (That's sort of what it looks like to me.)
2. Any tips for finding the queen if you think she's there?
Also, I will have some empty brood frames left after I do a combine. I will use some Bt for wax moths. However, I was wondering whether hive beetles will damage brood comb that is stored. If so, what do you do about that?