Hello all- I'm a new beekeeper, it's my first year. I have one hive and so far everything seems pretty good. I have read a lot and of course this is something you need to experience to actually be efficient in and I'm on a hard learning curve for sure. I have taken the stance of not checking on them weekly as some books recommend for beginners ( i guess to get to know your hive and whats normal)but instead I go two - three weeks between checks. I've found this to be alright and I would feel bad disturbing their work more frequently. I am able to identify brood, hatching bees and eggs (when the light allows) and have found the queen every time.
Well, a couple weeks ago, I opened the hive, the brood pattern is even and looks fine, lots of brood surrounded by honey ( really heavy frames!) but I wasn't able to find the queen. Is this normal? She IS marked for me so a bit easier to identify. Now my hive has grown rapidly and there are many more bees than the pervious times I've opened it. I placed a second super with queen excluder on top after they had about seven frames filled out. There hasn't been much activity in the top part but now the deep super is nearly full and I expect they'll start working on the top one soon.
Also, one thing that concerned me about not finding the queen was a formation that had the look of a super endure cell at the top of one frame. Now it was only one and I'm not sure that's what it was.
I'm going to inspect them again in a couple days to see how things are going.
They seems happy and productive, calm when I'm in the hive. From what I've heard, they'd be more upset if they were without a queen. I wasn't able to see eggs but I was in the shade and it was very hot so I didn't spend too much time looking. I'm in Texas so the suit gets a bit hot quickly and they are in dappled shade so it can be hard to see the eggs ( full sun would be WAY too hot).
So any reassurance would be helpful. I may worry too much but I want to be successful.
Also, what is the likeliness ill get honey to harvest for myself this first year? We've had lots of rain and the flowers are a plenty. I know they need a super of their own for winter but we have VERY mild winters here and was wondering if I'll get some of my own honey to enjoy from them.