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Hi have a backyard hive which was queenless a couple of months ago, and had a rough time trying to make a new one. I ended up buying one and installed it a few weeks ago. She is laying fine and has a nice pattern. But because the hive was queenless for so long, the number of bees isn't great.

One thing I noticed during an inspection today was that the bottom brood chamber is totally empty! There was maybe one frame with about 1/4 of pollen in it, but otherwise every frame looked like frames coming out of winter - nice and empty. There were bees obviously since nothing is excluding them from the chamber, but no brood, etc.

Is this normal? I figured if the queen wanted to she could come down and use the space. I know the bees pass through that box since all I have is a bottom entrance.

I have never seen or heard anything like this (but I am only a 2nd year beekeeper).

Thanks,

Steven
 

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As the queen fills the upper box with brood and the bees place honey and pollen in the other available cells above the queen will be forced to move back down as the population grows. You could place that empty box in the No. 2 position or just let them be. Remove any honey supers if the hive is not more than a deep of full of bees.
 

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If there is no incoming nectar or there will be days of rain in the near future the syrup won't hurt and will be helpfull of getting the queen down if you leave the empty on the bottom. If they are to weak to become honey producers I wouldn't hesitate to feed.
 
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