So my hive is officially mostly dismantled and completely empty. The guy I bought my bees from told me the fact that it took them three months to build out one box should have been an indication for me to requeen but that by early August (when I called him) I'd missed my window. I hadn't had time to really go out and deal with things until today, though. In the box I'd never meant to be a box, I saw a bunch of things that look like queen cups to my newbie eye:
I'm still wondering what happened, but I think my best guess is that they had a bum queen, tried to supercede and that failed? Or they swarmed and the new queen didn't survive? Either way, I'll start over next year with two hives so that I have more of a basis for comparison.