Re: New Queen Laying drone brood?
1.) Does a newly mated queen normally start off with some drone brood? Will she settle in and start laying worker brood?
If there is drone comb available, sometimes a new queen will lay some drones to help propegate her genetics into the area. If the drones you are seeing is in worker sized cells then I'd be worried.
2.) What happens if she didn't mate properly? There are very few drones (if any) in my other 5 hives. I assume the girls kicked them all out since it has been so dry and resources were scarce. I would assume other hives in the area have done the same.
If she did not mate properly, then she will be a drone layer, and could end up disappearing from the hive.
3.) Will the workers raise a new queen with the new eggs I provided them if there is a drone laying queen in the hive?
Yes, but maybe not off that first frame you gave them. Give them a frame with eggs once a week until they raise queen cell for you. Doing this can be quite drawn out and a waste of time if you have other hives, in my opinion. It just can take three weeks or more and that means a good hive gets reduced of future bees right? If you need or really want that nuc to make it then do give frame of eggs each week. If you have other hives that will make it then you may not want to try to save the nuc. This of course will be your call to make.
I've been keeping a few hives for the past 20-25 years, and no longer treatment free as I got tired of the losses.