We're from upstate NY and it has been hot and dry here this summer. We have a hive started from one of our swarms captured in early May (this year) that has suddenly become lethargic, docile, and they don't seem to be guarding the entrance. There's suddenly no sign of eggs, no worker laid eggs (that we can see), but there is capped brood, and 6 or so queen cells - only one of which is capped. We have never seen the queen in this hive, but we assume it is now queenless, given all these other signs. Are the queen cells in there a definite sign that they're creating a new queen? Will workers make queen cells on worker-laid eggs? Can we relax and let them do their thing? Or should we still be thinking about purchasing a queen to re-queen or combine this hive with one of our other hives?
We've tried to look this up but can't find a clear answer. Thanks in advance! :-)