Re: New to the Game
Hi Adam, I'll try to answer a few questions, but keep in mind there will be more opinions.
> why might there be new queen cells already
Bees build cups all the time then take them back down. If the queen is lacking they may be trying to supersede.
> not nearly as much work being done as the other hive
The queen may be slow to get started, or may be a dud. See above. Seems to be a common problem with package bees.
> Is two enough for the bees food/brood to last them through the winter
Probably not. I think most folks use one deep and one medium or three mediums for brood (as a minimum, some use more) and then more boxes for honey. This is very subjective and depends a lot on the bees themselves. I would probably have at least two extra boxes for each hive on hand and wouldn't rule out needing more. If all three boxes are full of bees they will need someplace to store honey.
> Also, with two hives is it worth it for me to invest in an extractor
In my opinion, no. Unless you have lots of money just laying around I would just crush and strain.
> is it normal to have lots of debris on the bottom board?
If you have solid bottoms then yes. There will be wax, pollen, mites, bee parts, etc. on the bottom board. If you have screened bottoms with ipm boards, take the ipm boards out unless you are checking for mites. I would definitely research mites and how to recognize them. Then, keep a good check on them. They can get out of hand before you know it.
Just my .02. Your mileage may vary.
Good luck with the hives.
Integrity - Doing the right thing when no one is watching.