my bees have been foraging as hard as they do in any spring flow so i decided to go through them yesterday evening. they're bringing in goldenrod all of the sudden even though it's been blooming for 4 or 5 weeks now.
anyway, all hives are looking good and actually putting up stores with the exception of one. the first frame i pull there is a clump of queen cells and one has been cut down. i decided to go all the way through this hive because it's one i've been a little concerned about. there is capped brood and big larvae in several frames along with more queen cells, some cut down and some still look viable. no eggs no young larvae. there are drone cells and several drones (the first i've seen in a few weeks and this is the only hive letting them hang around. these bees have always been a bit irritable but i probably took 15 stings in my hands and forearms going through them. the cells really looked like swarm cells but this hive is only just getting up to strength. i split them twice this year and the last time was in late july or early august.
anyway, i'm going to leave them alone for a couple of weeks then see if they managed to requeen themselves. this is all leading up to the question of will they be able to stay strong enough to survive in the single ten frame deep? beetles and robbing concern me more than survivng the cold. the high today is going to be close to 90 (go figure, i planted all my winter fields last sunday and they are coming up already).
so, i guess this is sort of a poll. would you combine them now or let them try to make it? they cover 8 frames and have maybe three frames worth of brood left to emerge. assuming the queen gets mated this is a very short break in the brood cycle and there seem to be enough young bees emerging to balance some of the attrition.