Very new beekeeper here. I first became interested in trying beekeeping when I saw the Open Source Beehives project. They have some designs for beehives that can be cut out from a single sheet of plywood (CARB Phase 2 certified with non-toxic soy glues only) using a CNC (computer controlled) router. Thus the designs can be shared digitally at zero marginal cost, the hives can be flat packed for shipping, and they require no tools to assemble. I'm also very interested in digital manufacturing so thought this would be a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. So I built one of their top bar hives and found some bees (started with 5 frames of brood, pollen, and honey, no queen though).
Unfortunately my new hive is struggling a little bit. I found at least 5 queen cells about 3 or 4 weeks ago, but have checked the hive a couple times in the last week and found no signs of a laying queen. We are in the beginning of the dearth here in Ohio so an experienced beekeeper said it is possible the queen is doing a good thing by not laying. However, it is also possible I don't have a viable queen for whatever reason. This same beekeeper has offered to sell me a flown survivor queen for $30, or a russian queen that she says has great genetics for $50. She is also willing to sell some frames of brood to boost my struggling bee population.
The other problem I'm having is small hive beetles. Currently the hive is in the shade, and the very first thing this same experienced beekeeper told me was to move the hive to full sun (which is about 50 feet away from the current location) and place a branch in front of the entrance so that the bees will think something has fallen in their path and will begin the process of re-mapping their area. I also cut out part of the bottom board in my hive and installed a mineral oil trap at the recommendation of the novice beekeeper who owns the property my bees are on. However, this more experienced beekeeper says it won't do anything. She says getting the hive in the sun, and boosting the population are the key changes I need to make.
What do people on here think?
Here are a ton of pictures of my hive so people can get a better idea of what the situation is.https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d5zywit1cxxenjv/AABttFACgbDI0puV9AVQzQoWa?dl=0