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Hello, first poster, I'll try to be brief in the background issue.

I got my first 2 packages (3 pounds each) 10 days ago, they were sold as MN Hygienic. Put them in and the queens in with no problem (very fun and exciting!).
On my 3 day inspection Hive A's queen was out and hanging out on the outside of the cage looking good. Hive B's Queen was dead in the cage, not all the candy was eaten. I promptly got another queen (VSH Italian), put her in 1 week ago. After another 3 days I checked and she was not in the cage.

I'm using Lang 10frame hives, 1 deep right now. I've currently been feeding sugar water at the entrance, with a pollen patty on top (per recommendations of where I got my supplies). Hive A had been going through less sugar water, needing a refill of a liter every 2-3 days. Hive B was going through a liter almost every day.

Today was my first inspection. Hive B looks great. Too great. Tons of bees covering almost every, comb being built on almost every frame, cells capped (not sure if with brood or honey, and I saw little curled up larva. I take it this hive is doing great. Hive A looks bad. Enough bees to barely cover 2 frames. A significant number of them are drones. No fully built comb and no larva. I just have a feeling that either the queen I saw before either died or left the hive.

I don't think Hive A is sustainable.. there's barely any bees and they're mostly drones (significant number of drones). I think that the bees in Hive A jumped ship and went to Hive B.

Questions-
1- Am I thinking wrong with Hive A's weakness and that maybe the bees jumped ship?
2- Is my best option to wait for Hive B to swarm, and just prepare Hive A for the swarm?
3- With that, should I combine my too hives? If so, should I combine now or should I wait for swarm cells to appear and then combine?

Thoughts, suggestions, prayers?
Thank you.
 

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I am relatively new and ran into a similar situation this spring. There was only one attendant left alive in the queen cage in one of the two packages I ordered arrived at the end the of April - the queen and remaining attendants were dead. The hive looked weak and lethargic as well, so I decided to cut my losses and just combine them. In my case it worked out OK as the surviving hive is doing well and growing.

I think the weak package must have been in a cold area in the container/truck it was shipped in as it had many more dead bee's in it as well.
 

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If you're sure there's no queen and no larvae, combine, and then split when you have ten frames built out.That will get you back to your original hive count.Do a paper combine on them.
 
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