We have a hive and we were pretty sure it was queenless for a while. When we checked on May 30th, there was only honey in the hive, and no sign of eggs/larva. There was some capped brood, and some drone brood, but it was very spotty. When we checked on June 10th, there was still no sign of anything, except for one queen cell. We just checked again today. We took two frames out to examine them. The first one (see the attached images) still had the same spotty capped brood (regular, not drone brood), but this time there was eggs and larva. The larva looked a little weird (kinda twisted, not floating in jelly), but we're new to this so maybe that's normal? There were also multiple eggs laid per cell, just like a laying worker.
But the second one looked MUCH better. I forgot to take a picture, but the brood was much more even and less spotty. The larva looked much fatter and happy. It looked more or less like a healthy brood frames that we've see in our beekeeping class, except that it was still kind of spotty. There was also one empty queen cell at the bottom of the frame, and another full one at the top. The *healthy* brood frame looks like this (not my photo, but ours looks very similar):
Is it possible for hives to recover from the laying worker stage if they raise a queen in time? Is the spotty brood frame a result of laying worker that hasn't had time to recover yet? I've read that new queens can sometimes lay multiple eggs when they first start laying, so maybe that's what happened here?
Alternatively, maybe this is a perfectly normal hive and we are judging our bees too harshly?
Edit: I know what laying worker is-- we have another hive and can maybe recombine, or maybe clear out this hive and use it for a split next year. I just want to make sure we're not doing that unless absolutely necessary, because the other frame looks so much better.
Pics of the weird frame (note that this is only one frame! the other one looks much healthier): https://imgur.com/FG4IwWk,z7511Vk,XTkPJkd