Ok so I need some Warre help. I bought a 5 frame nuc of Carniolans about 15 days ago. I am trying to transition them down as I do not think a chop and crop would go well from nuc to warre. I had one full nuc and one the same size, but completely empty. I fashioned an adapter from a queen excluder to cover all of the exposed areas. I installed by taking each frame off and brushing the bees down then putting the frame in the empty nuc. I did this for every frame. I then put the queen excluder/adapter down and then the nuc on top.
I checked in on them on May 19th. I couldn't tell if comb had been built down in the new box or not. Bees seemed plenty active with pollen coming in. I saw plenty of very young larvae and capped brood. No eggs. Took that as a good sign and called it a day.
I check in on them again today and I saw these.
They were a bit agitated, but it really wasn't good weather to do an inspection. Thunderstorms last night and rain again likely tonight. It is humid around 70 and cloudy. So I guess that could be all. They sounded a little louder than the bees in my TBH, but I have no idea what a queenless hive sounds like. In the nuc there was some scattered capped brood, but no larvae or eggs. Remember that there is a queen excluder underneath the nuc and hopefully the queen is in the Warre. There must have been around 4-5 queen cups (maybe cells? I don't know when the term changes). I didn't see any clear indication of there being a larvae in any of them, but I am not sure what this is.
It may just be a big drone cell and I hope it is. I thought it looked a bit big for a drone cell, but that is the only thing that looked capped. All of the other cells were open at the bottom. Most of them were in the middle of the comb except for one of the queen cups was at the bottom.
After seeing that I was a bit bummed and checked on the Warre box underneath. The combs are all still a bit new and I tried to take one out to examine it, but didn't check the sides for attachments. It had one and had just started to tear when I saw. So I left that alone and didn't try to take any more out. I know that I saw capped worker brood on the top of most of the combs in the warre. I also know that they have build out at least three combs. Not completely to the bottom, but I used comb scraps from my TBH chop and crop as comb guides or sorts. So the center three had been build out whereas the outer combs look relatively unchanged. Either way I know I saw brood comb, but wasn't daring enough to try to remove the new combs after my almost disaster.
So.....am I queenless? My gut tells me no. My gut tells me that these are just empty cups and the queen can't get to them to tear them down. My gut tells me that the one capped cell is just a bigger drone cell (sorry pics weren't good. It's hard to hold a frame one handed and take a picture. Forgot my stand). Is it possible the the nurse bees above aren't getting enough contact with the queen and are instinctively building cells from lack of pheromones?
I think my next move is going to be finding a different way to make an adapter and remove the excluder and see what happens. Seeing the capped brood in the warre was a good sign. I just worry that as soon as I remove the queen excluder they will move back up into the nuc and I will be right back to where I started. I still have that extra nuc at my house. They have nonremovable bottoms and I just cut the bottom to much. So I think I can just cut a smaller hole and make it work without a complex adapter....anyways....thoughts???