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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started beekeeping last May with 2 hives. I started each from 5 frame nucs. My problem hive has one deep and one shallow on top. The other hive has one deep and two shallows.

In the smaller hive, almost all of the frames have drawn comb on them. I inspect every week and two weeks ago I didn't see any new brood but there were three large capped queen cells that had not been there the previous week. The next week, those large cells were gone or partially gone. Yesterday, I looked to see if I could find a new queen but couldn't. There there are so many bees, it's possible that I missed her. There is no sign of laying of any kind. I was shocked to lift frame after frame that had empty comb. Not only was there no new brood but not pollen or honey! All the honey that was there last week was gone. There is only a small, less than 1/4 of a frame of honey left on just a few frames. I was shocked at how light the frames were when I lifted them out.

I don't know what to do. I had stopped feeding the bees because they had started back filling. Now, I don't know what to do. Is the new queen there but not laying yet? There is nothing left to feed brood with! Obviously, I have to start feeding them. Should I feed and continue to wait or combine these bees with my strong second hive?

To make matters worse, if possible, I was supposed to start my Apiguard treatment at the end of July, which I've been told can stop the queen from laying for a bit. And I am supposed to go out of town for a week at the end of the month.

Help! I don't know what to do but I know I need to do something quick.
 

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transfer a frame or 2 of brood from the other hive do not include the stronger hive's queen. if the weak hive makes queen cells on the new frames you are probably queen less. if the do not try to make a queen then you likely have a new queen not laying yet. a week or 10 days after you add a frame or 2 you can repeat this. look up the "bee calander" for queens. adding brood will discourage laying workers, your option of introducing a queen after you see what is happening will be easier.
 

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it is possible that you have a queen in the hive, Virgin queens take some time to breed and begin laying, and can be difficult to spot. You did not say what the bee status of the hive was, if the hive has plenty of bees then start feeding and give it some time to see if the queen begins laying.

If the bee force is low then a combine may be the best bet.
I am a hive numbers guy and always work toward saving a hive, combining is only a last resort for me. I literally have queens banked just in case I need one for emergencies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There are lots of bees in the hive. Every frame in the lower deep is filled and most of the upper shallow frames are covered in bees. I think I will start feeding them immediately and check again in a few days. I hate to combine if I don't have too. When I check in a few days, I'll add a frame of brood then. I hate to add brood when there is literally nothing to eat in the hive!

This is all so new to me, I really appreciate all the help.
 

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It would a good idea to put the frame with open brood in there as soon as you can. And put some feed on also. You should know in a couple days if they have a queen because if they don't they will start queen cells on the frame of open brood. If they start cells it would be good to give them a laying queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Things are worse than I thought. I went to inspect the "strong" hive and see if I could take a frame of brood out of it and was horrified to see that the honey was gone from this hive, too! I had checked both hives about a week ago and they both had lots of honey. I went out of town for a week and now there is basically NO HONEY in either hive. Were they robbed while I was gone? The empty honeycombs look normal, not shredded or anything. Could they have fixed them that fast? There are lots of bees. I am feeding them sugar water and pollen patties inside the hive.

So now, I have two hives with tons of bees and no stores and one without a laying queen. Could things get any worse?
 

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the honey on hand can go down in a hurry as the nectar coming in slows or stops when the bees are in population increase mode. this is more noticeable in first year colonies with Italian type queens. feed both and find a mated queen for the queen-less colony. I would suggest a mason jar type top feeder. avoid entrance feeders, they attract robbers. top tank feeders are to high in capacity for this time of year your brood area will be backfilled real quick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i cut a piece of plywood 16x20 and cut out 2 holes for mason jars. I also cut out a couple of rectangles and stapled screen across them and then pushed some pollen patties through the screen. An unused deep is on top of the board. I checked this morning and one quart jar was empty and the other had about 1/3 left. There was still plenty of pollen patty left. Is that too much to feed? I had problems with them back filling earlier. Remember there is no honey or pollen to speak of in the hive. Could they have just used it up? The frames were so heavy just 10 days ago and now, nothing.
 

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too much feeding this time of year is when there is no space for the queen to lay eggs. bees seem to prefer to forage rather than take feed if conditions allow this. conditions are: weather, hive strength, the calander [season], availability of food and local factors.
 
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