I have two hives currently, both top bar, both feral hives from caught swarms, one from this year, one from many years ago. I live in the Atlanta area to give you an idea of weather.
The hive that is oldest doesn't seem to be doing well. I've posted some images, which hopefully also show you what I'm trying to describe.
My first concern is with the dead bees (pupae stage, I believe?) in the cells. I noticed a random one here and there last year, but this last hive inspection, I noticed an increase in the numbers.
The queen also does not seem to be laying a solid brood pattern, but I'm not sure how concerned I should be. The bees don't have too much honey stored, but they have been foraging, and increasing their stores. I did remove some pollen, empty comb, and a little bit of honey for the new swarm, and the new swarm is doing amazingly well with multiple frames of full brood so far (only about 3 weeks old at this point).
I want to help this older hive not only survive, but thrive. A bit more background - I have not done any medications, and my preference would be to stay that way, but I am by no means anti-medication, and if there is something that I need to do, I will definitely be up for it. This hive was given to me by beekeeper friends about 2-3 years ago, and the hive body was falling apart, so last year I built a new top bar hive for it, and transferred all the frames over. In the process, I think I killed the queen as there were a number of emergency queen cells produced, and they were very aggressive while they were raising the queen. They stayed fairly small the entire season last year, and I ended up having to feed them honey and sugar syrup in the fall to overwinter with. They did survive, but in my first hive inspection, they had very little honey stores, but were foraging fairly well so I did not do any additional feeding in the early spring. They have been active every day that the weather has cooperated. They still have a good amount of pollen, a lot of empty comb, and have started to store nectar and have capped off some honey, but it isn't as much as I would've expected by now.
Ideas? Suggestions? Thanks in advance!
I tried to put pictures in here, but I don't have a high enough post count. I will contact the administrator to see if they can append my post. In the mean time, I would still appreciate any help!