I visited my hive yesterday & saw only a small amount of capped brood. No eggs or larvae at any stage. There were 2 queen cells in my hive but they were not capped and had no larvae. I am thinking that the solution here is to get a new queen?
This hive had struggled with raising a well laying queen and also with being very defensive. I pulled the old queen out on 7/22 and I put the new queen in on 7/23.
I revisited the hive on 7/26 and the queen had been freed. I did see a few queen cells forming on 7/22 & 7/23 and removed them.
I revisited the hive on 8/2. It appeared as though a good capped brood pattern had formed. We were unable to see eggs (I thought because of lighting) but my friend did say that she saw larvae at different stages. I did see 2 chewed open queen cells & 4 capped queen cells during this inspection -- I did not remove them (which I feel like was probably a mistake).
During this same inspection on 8/2, I saw that my OTHER hive had succumbed to SHB. The queen and majority of the hive had absconded.
After that, I had upped my efforts against SHB in my existing hive (the one with the queen issues). I went into the hive on 8/4 & 8/6 to put oil trays into the bottom board, to clean the bottom board, insert Beetle Blasters, etc. On 8/4, I combined the remaining bees from the other hive with my existing hive (with newspaper & sugar syrup). On 8/6, I removed the newspaper and checked the oil trays. I did not go into the brood box either on 8/4 or 8/6 - I did however remove it from the bottom board and move it around while I cleaned & re-situated the hive.
Then today, I finally inspected the brood box and saw what I have listed above. No eggs, no larvae, very little capped brood.
I don't know if the queen died herself, from the other queens that might have emerged from the queen cells or from my messing around in the hive in my SHB reduction efforts (the good news is that the population has gone down since i put the trays in . . . ). Or, if she was possibly stressed so hasn't been laying. But, ultimately, I am concerned that there's no larvae or eggs, a small number of capped brood and no capped queen cells.
I'm thinking that I need to get a new queen ASAP? Will that be OK with very little brood in the hive? I do not have any open brood or eggs from another hive to give to this one.
At this point, I am very worried about the population dropping now and SHB really invading. I am also concerned about steps that I need to take to help my colony get through winter. I am located near Baltimore, MD. Any advice would be helpful!