Mostly newbie here; I had three hives for 2 years before a wild cutout infested me with SHB. Now I'm struggling to keep one hive alive. They survived the winter but they are very sluggish. No eggs, only 5 capped cells. The queen had a good laying pattern last year, and while the hive never thrived, they did well enough to survive this winter's multiple polar vortexes.
They have been on sugarwater and pollen patties for a month now; temps generally around mid 50s during the day. There is some stored honey and some stored pollen, but mostly fully drawn, empty cells.
I removed the oil trap from the bottom board, thinking that maybe the bees didn't like their environment. It is the only thing keeping the SHB in check though, so it makes me very nervous to do so.
Open cells look somewhat dirty (looks like tiny bits of beeswax inside them? Thought maybe I had a drone layer but the queen is still around); no queen cells in evidence.
Should I requeen? I'm down to very few bees at this point and I'm wondering if my queen is not laying because
a) it's too early
b) the bees are unhappy
c) she was poorly mated and is out of eggs
I'd hate to order a new queen and then have this hive suddenly be fine after all.
Experienced beekeepers: what would you do?