Wow! I love you guys! The way you all break things down helps me in my own head! I learn so much here and feel like I can verbalize it back! Thanks!
Finski: You ask good questions. I had been avoided a long explanation for fear of boring everyone! So, without getting into the specifics of why, this gal's hive is not as strong as it could and that's just the way it is right now. But she's learning why regular hive inspections are necessary, and learning details like what the brood pattern should consist of, not just the fact that there is brood. It's a steep learning curve and she is trying very hard.
At the moment, there are no eggs because the queen has swarmed and the newly hatched queen has not begun laying yet. Since the swarming seems to be due to congestion in the deep, the lack of egg laying should help to open things up a bit. You are right, though, the colony is currently small. I, too, worry about it's ability to overwinter.
Bjorn: Thank you for the additional explanation of open feeding vs. internal feeding. It clarifies things for me and I will be able to use that logic here at home, too. I will pass along your words. She has made the decision to pull the empty western. If she decides to open feed, as well, then hopefully as the new queen starts laying, they will begin to build wax on the deep frames they have left to fill.
This is her only hive so there are no resources to pull from. If the new queen manages to fill the deep with new brood, though, I have offered her some drawn comb (western) so she can swap them for honey-filled ones (That was the backup plan I mentioned earlier). She can feed those frames back, as needed. At least the hive was good at storing pollen, that's a plus!