First, for the images to this posting, see my bee blog by following this link: http://frogpondbeeblog.blogspot.com/
I started three hives this spring and two of them a really doing well. Hive #3 however seems to have been a laggard all year. Now I am beginning to think I have a queen that is a "dud". I need some experienced opinions based on what I have observed and the pictures I have posted.
1. Open Brood Pattern
The brood pattern in Hive 3 is open and there are many cells not in use. When the frames were fuller a couple weeks ago, there were a lot of skipped cells. There are larvae and capped cells, so I left them alone. Now I am not so sure.
2. Slow Comb Development
These girls are now almost one full deep 'behind' the other two hives in comb development. They have barely drawn any of the second deep.
Should I buy a new queen or let them make a new queen? I have not seen any evidence of supercedure cells.
Should I move frames of brood from my stronger hives in to this hive? Would that help equalize the colonies or detract from the strong colonies?
Might there be something else affecting this hive? I see no evidence of mites or other pests. So far I have applied no medication
Thanks for your advice... I want to make sure I go in to the fall and winter with three strong hives! You can learn more about my farm at my web site - I don't have my bee blog integrated in to the web site yet, but I will try to get it done soon. I have learned a lot here and hope to contribute some time soon!