I have 2 great hives-w-some drones and drone brood-not a ton of drones in these 2 hives but more than I would think for this time of year. I am also surprised at these 2 hives being so strong so early and IF they are bringing in nectar I see nothing blooming so it confuses me to see nectar in the comb of the 2 strong hives.
It is the 3rd hive that is poorly and I strongly suspect low supplies was the problem because the comb is only 8 mos old and is squeaky clean but totally void of any honey. In addition there was a lot of wax chewed off the comb and I've read this is a sign of hungry bees/starvation. Of course the next few days/weeks will prove it all out. I did mention that we don't get a real winter here but I suppose this is from a formers N.E. resident so maybe there would be some that would argue it. I am right on the line for zone 8-9 and we had about a week of sub freezing temps about 2 weeks ago lowest temps were high 20's.
Thanks for the input and I'll keep in touch. Maybe someone in the same temp zone will look at this and chime in?
I don't have as much experience as many others here, but I guess I'll chime in untill they show up.
I wouldn't really worry about it. If I were you I'd give them a pollen patty, some sugar water, and wait. If it's a dying queen there isn't really anything that you can do at this point in time (no other queens available, and no drones flying to make your own). If the colony has laying workers (which I don't think it is, mainly because it doesn't happen too often, and you would see the signs that 1of6 said), then the colony is done for anyway.
I would anticipate that if the temps arn't cold, they are bringing in nectar and pollen, and you don't have a hive full of drones this time of year, you're just over exagerating. Just feed them and wait. Come back in 3 weeks and see if there are any problems.
But if someone more experienced than I says otherwise, I'd go with them.