Well, I just don't know about this 10-frame hive. We went into it again this morning, and most of the bees were in the top super. There's lots of capped cells (not honey but syrup that I've been feeding them). Didn't spot a queen. The bottom two deeps are drawn comb, but empty - no brood or capped cells, just comb. Saw one hive beetle and squished it. No wax moths. But there were many more bees than I remembered being in there.
I just have a feeling the queen is in the top super and maybe has
stopped laying because of the dearth. Or maybe there's not a queen and
the bees are capping cells out of instinct. It seems to me that if
there were a laying worker, there would be some eggs and some capped
drone cells. But there's not. Just empty cells. And if all the bees
were robbers, they wouldn't bother capping the cells.
So, since I'm going to be working the next four nights, I'm going to
feed them good and look at them next Tuesday. I ordered a queen today
and it will be here hopefully next Thursday. If there's a queen in
there, then the new queen will be unnecessary and will probably be
killed, unless the queen that's in there is weaker than the new one.
I'm just experimenting to see what happens. I will just lay the queen
cage in there and see if the bees accept it or if they get mad (like
there's already a queen there).
I was reading today that a lot of people lost hives to starvation this
summer due to the bad weather. Maybe that's what has this hive in such
bad shape. Anyway, no matter how it turns out, I will learn something!