I am the manager of a hive that will be used for teaching hive inspections at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Atlanta. We were supplied by Metro Atlanta Beekeepers with two nucs for the two hives at the Preserve. We installed the nucs on Wed, Feb 25 and saw no queen in my hive and not much capped brood in the nuc.
We opened the hive for its first inspection on Saturday - not for teaching purposes, just to see if they got established - and my hive had tons of bees, no brood at all, no eggs, no larvae, empty cells in every frame. The bees were building wax madly - had filled all 8 frames in the 8 frame box so we added a second medium box (the nuc came in deeps). I added the box for two reasons - to give them something to do and to follow the rule about adding a box when they've built out that much.
We were feeding this hive with baggies with sugar syrup so there was a third box empty on top of the hive surrounding the baggie feeder.
Note: I also on Saturday called the supplier and emailed him about the lack of a queen, but he hasn't gotten back to me. I know it will hamper the growth of this hive to wait to hear from him, so I saw no harm in adding the brood/eggs frames
Discouraged by what looked like the apparent lack of a queen, I decided to come back on Sunday, bringing frames of brood and eggs from my hives at home to encourage them to make a queen, if they don't have one. I have mediums at home so I added two frames of brood and eggs and three frames of honey and pollen from my hives at home to the medium box (Box 2) on the hive.
I then put the whole contraption back together, removing the empty baggies which had 2 quarts of syrup in it the day before. I hadn't brought more syrup with me so I just put the empty box back on top of the hive and closed it up.
After I got home, I thought that it now wouldn't be a good idea to open that hive back up for the 10 days it will take them to make and cap and queen cell. So Julia (the other Metro hive manager at the Preserve who has a beautiful queen whom we saw) and I decided to put a Boardman on this hive for feeding.
If I don't remove it I'm sure I'll come back to a mess of burr comb since it's a totally empty box and these bees are crazy to build wax right now.
Will it disturb this hive too much in the queen making process to remove the empty box?
Am I right not to plan to open the hive for 10 days?
So now what would you do if you were me?
Linda T worrying in Atlanta