Is it too late??? Need advise, please.
So, the question: is it too late in the year for a hive that is not queen-right to raise their own new queen, breed, etc? I don't want to lose this hive and let it die out over the winter. Here's the story: Inspection on Oct 20th revealed no eggs nor larvae, as I expected when I noticed not many girls flying about. So, I took two deep brood frames from Hive 1, which had mixed stages of development, and put them into Hive 2 (the queenless hive). My goals was to have the girls raise their own virgin queen, let her mate, and get the hive going before our Florida winter set in. Short as our winter is in Florida, it can still get quite cold and last for weeks (usually in late Dec and January). I figured the only issue may have been if I didn't pull a frame that had young enough eggs for the girls to do what they need to do to raise a queen. According to the queen rearing calendar: http://www.thebeeyard.org/queen-rearing-calendar/ , I should have had larva by Nov 28th. I've been feeding them 1:1 sugar syrup since putting the additional frames in. Anyway, I didn't want to disturb the girls so I waited until today, Dec 7th, to check the condition of the hive. I'm not happy to say it, but I appear to have a laying worker: drones only. Florida daily temps are ranging from high 60s to 70s and the girls are still bringing a little pollen and possibly a little nectar here and there. So, is it too late for me to try again to take two other deeps from Hive 1 and repeat the process? Would the laying worker prevent the creation of a new queen? Would it be better to do combine of Hive 1 and 2 (like a paper combine)?? They have good stores, and with me feeding, maybe they could make it until I could purchase a queen, or get a nuc going, but I really don't want to wait and take any chances with my girls. Thoughts, please?