So I have two hives that I started out end of April, all mediums. I added a third box on each of them around mid June. The first hive I checked looked like it was doing well. In fact, it is almost ready for a fourth box. I did notice though that only one of the frames had eggs, and the rest of them are all nectar. I was relieved to see the eggs, so am assuming there is still a queen. Since very little of this box is working on brood, does that mean that everything I add from now on is going to be all about the honey?
On to the second hive - this is where I am really concerned. I was expecting the third box to be like it was in the first hive. However, the bees have barely drawn out anything in this box. There are about four or five frames that have some comb drawn out in the center areas, but it is barely developed, and very few bees are in this box. There also is nothing in any of the cells because none of them are drawn out enough. So I felt I should inspect the box below it. In this box there were plenty of bees and brood....but I couldn't find the queen or any eggs. There is a lot of capped brood, exposed larva, and a lot of empty cells from where bees were born. There is also nectar and some capped honey. I did notice on the bottom of one of the frames what looked like a swarm or supersedure cell. But would there be a swarm cell with so much space in the top box? Is it possible that there could have been a swarm already since the top box had so few bees and so little going on? I am also worried I could have harmed the queen cell because it may have ripped a little from the frames in the box below it, where it seemed to be attached. Though it may have not ripped at all as there was other comb that ripped too, and I could see a large exposed larvae on the top of the frames below. Perhaps that was also a developing queen? I am not sure what I should do, because it seems like there is no queen. Maybe there is and she just stopped laying? I don't know what to make of this. As well, in the top box there is a powdery white fluff, like mold all along the side of one wall. I wiped it off, but am frustrated because I am having condensation problems. Both hives had watery condensation on the tops of the boxes when lifting the lids off. Is that normal? I recently purchased inner covers that are just screens, to allow for better ventilation but have not used them yet. Being so close to the ocean there is a lot of moisture here. Could I use these screened inner covers year round? I also have been having problems with the Brushy Mountain boxes. A lot of them have warped and cracked, and some of them were rocking quite a bit. Brushy Mountain sent me a few new boxes, but they are not all equal in size with some of the original boxes that didn't rock and one of the boxes sticks out from the one on top of it, leaving a quarter inch platform where water could collect. There are gaps in between some of the boxes enough that I can stick my hive tool all the way through. Do others have this problem? I am actually considering starting all over with new boxes from a different company but no matter what I do I am turned off by the idea of spending extra money or going through the hassle of painting and changing everything. Sorry, I didn't mean to go into so much detail about my equipment, because I am mostly concerned about what is going on with my hives. Any input is appreciated!