So I finally got a chance to do a thorough check in the hive yesterday after our long winter and I was surprised to find NO brood at all, at any stage of development. However, there are lots of bees (3 frames full). There is still lots of honey in the hive as well and the hive was clean and orderly with no indication of disease or invaders like mice.
This makes me think I lost the queen quite a while ago in winter and that these bees are older ones that are still alive from the harsh winter. Observing at the entrance on semi-warm days in winter seemed like normal activity and so I was quite surprised. Even yesterday I observed many foragers coming back with pollen. The hive wasn't particularity testy and I didn't spot any signs of a laying worker, so my only other hypothesis is that the queen is in fact there (although I didn't see her) but she is not laying. Also, I found no evidence of queen cells.
So the question is.. which is likely the case? And second, if the hive is indeed queenless, what should I do with the remaining bees? I'm guessing it is too late to introduce a new queen since there is no brood at all. Maybe combine these queenless bees with an existing colony?
Thanks for the help,