33 days ago I installed a 5-frame nuc with bees & brood and a live unmarked queen, however by the next day the queen had been released and has not been seen since. We had a miserably cold 2 weeks and no forage available. I started syrup, which they are still taking voraciously--and storing it as nectar, I discovered today. They are foraging, bringing in pollen, and storing pollen and nectar around the brood nest area, as well as storing capped honey in an outer frame. There are no eggs or brood. None. Some of the brood areas of the center frames are empty and some have nectar in them. The bees act content, in my newbie estimation.
There were a couple of queen cells that may have had queens in them when they arrived. Early on there were a lot of drones (when it was so cold), but almost none in the last ?3 weeks.
I have a top bar hive that was started with a package at the same time, & it's doing well, but I don't think it's strong enough to take brood and give it to the nuc.
My question: should I wait another week and see if there's a virgin queen that hasn't mated yet (which might explain why the colony seems so content), or should I give it up and combine the two hives before I get laying workers?
Thanks in advance for the advice! Kathy, Lat 48, NW Montana