I did an inspection this morning, and wanted to check some of my thoughts. I currently have 3 hives.
Hive 1 the larger queenless half of a a split I did 28 days ago. 2 brood boxes that have tons of bees and more honey and pollen then I expected. No eggs no larve that I could find, the hive seemed good otherwise.
Hive 2 is the small half of the split I did, Less brood than I expected, but we did have a nasty cold snap about a week after the split, then may have had some chilled brood. I observed the queen lay an egg not inside a cell. This queen was very strong last year, has a fantastic brood pattern, and I would hate to not see her through this year, but I am starting to worry. To her credit the other half of the split has plenty of bees.
Hive 3 is a small swarm I collected earlier this week They look good.
I am have some pail feeders out as well as a top feeder in the swarm. They probably don't need so much feeding but I started a bunch of new equipment this year and need still need alot of wax drawn.
In the end I stole a drawn frame of wax and honey from hive 1 for the swarm in hive 3, since I had to but them into a brand new box earlier this week and had no drawn comb to give them.
I also took one of the two frames of eggs from hive 2 and gave that to hive 1, since I didn't see any strong indicators of a queen and a i fear the split failed. Hive 2 got a nice frame of honey in the trade.
I figure that hive 1 is strong and I need to make sure I have at least one strong hive to make the winter.
I am seriously contemplating dropping the queen from hive 2 and combining that with the swarm in hive 3. The summer is still early, and I feel that they should be able to build enough strength to make it through the winter. Hive 1 should make enough honey for me to be able to cost justify everything else I have done this year with the wife.
I would really like to hear what people think about the situation as a whole; particularly if I should just combine 2 and 3 now, or give them some more time. Right now 2 has the only historically proven queen.