newbee beek here looking for some advice.
I got my first hive in Feb last year, expanded it with one super before winter, all was well. I added a super (full depth) in October to my single, crowded hive...the one super over the brood box was chockers and I was concerned about swarming. They went on to draw it out nicely and proceed to fill with honey, but then we had a cold snap, and the next time I had the opportunity to have a look I found brood in the the top(new) box. I left it there in the hope the warming weather would see the queen move lower in the hive.
A few weeks later (weather warming to the 20-30's) there was still brood up top so I did a little shuffle with the second box to try to keep the brood down lower. I also noticed during this inspection that the hive seemed to have stalled a little...no new honey stores, erratic brood pattern, little evidence of new brood.
Latest inspection reveals much the same thing, this time though I went all the way to the bottom box and found it mostly empty apart from a bunch of pollen stores.
I have only ever seen the queen once, mid spring. I wonder if I dropped her in the grass? No evidence of swarming (eg swarm cells), there still seem to be stacks of bees in there, on the brood frames at least. Laying worker? Plenty of drone brood but what looks like worker brood too...will check next inspection that it has live brood in it.
So what do you guys think?
Should I condense the hive back down?
Goes without saying a thorough search for the queen is in order otherwise...requeen?
Feed them? Honey stores seem low in the hive with only about two fully filled frames and very little on the brood frames. Has been a wet spring here.
Anyone around the Yarra Valley area care to drop in and take a peek? Tell me what I may have done/doing wrong?
Anyway...thanks in advance for any advice...would hate my intro into this great hobby to end in a disaster!