I'm still somewhat of an inexperienced beekeeper. I have had 1 hive for the past 4-5 years. So yesterday we had a somewhat warm day here in Georgia and I needed to do some maintenance on my hive. I had an old brood box that had warped so badly it was causing the boxes above to lean, also it was causing a huge gap where the bees could get through (and air and rain).
While transferring my frames into a new brood box I noticed there were 2-3 queen cells with larva and royal jelly uncapped near the bottom of the frame. I also noticed a fully capped queen cell on the face of a frame about a quarter way from the top. From my limited experience I think this queen will hatch soon as the tip of the cell was a lot lighter than the rest of it. I'm trying to figure out what is going on in my hive.
Here's some history on my hive:
Year before last it swarmed. Tried saving the swarm in a second hive but the little un-grates flew off.
Last year no swarm. I added a 2nd brood box with empty wax foundation to the bottom of the hive near the end of spring flow (Too late I learned). I was hoping the girls would draw it out so I could replace the original brood comb that is 4-5 yrs old for this spring. When it came time to harvest the honey, between the weather and health I didn't get to it. My girls over wintered with 2 smack full medium honey supers.
Right now… I have the few uncapped queens (i see the rice/maggot looking larva and in a bed of royal jelly) and a capped queen. I didn't see the the original queen yesterday or really any eggs. Maybe they were there and I didn't see them, but I looked. The bee population looked good for this time of year (we've also had a warmer than usual winter), there was capped worker brood and some (very little) capped drone brood. As for my hive set-up from the bottom up I have a deep box of un-drawn wax foundation, a deep box of old drawn comb, queen excluder, then 2 medium supers of almost full honey left over, and on top I added an empty medium super of undrawn plastic foundation.
My inexperienced thoughts…. My queen is 2 spring seasons old so they may be replacing her???. But I don't understand the different stages of Queen cells, I thought they would all be at the same stage of development. I'm also thinking I need the empty honey super to keep the girls busy until it warms up enough to rob the filled supers. I'm also hoping they will draw out the new brood box.
Am I on th right track with my thinking? And does anyone have any advice as to what is going on with my girls? Or what to do better?