I put in a couple hives of carnolians last year with four frame NUCs. One hive thrives while the other Iâ€™ve had nothing but problems with. The queen disappeared and a laying worker emerged. After a long battle I got a queen established in enough time to survive the winter. I checked the hive in early spring during a warm snap and it looked fine. Checked it this spring, couldnâ€™t find a queen, lots of drone cell, and more than one egg in some cells. Also allot fewer bees then when I checked earlier while its sister hive had already started its build up. I called the state inspector and got inspected â€“ he couldnâ€™t find her and suspected the same thing, He recommended combining hives or pull a couple brood frames from the existing hive and attempt to requeen as Kelly Bees is twenty minutes from the house. I ordered a queen and the lousy weather hit again, 50â€™s and rain all day â€“ for 3 days. He said to let the frame w/bees to go queenless for a couple days and then introduce the new queen. Well I ordered her and then the weather turned ugly. I ended up taking the hive down piece-by-piece, walking about 100 yards and brushing all the existing bees off into the woods in an attempt to rid myself of the laying worker. I did notice that due to the rain and temp (53 degrees) the procedure ended up being much easier than last time (0 stings). I put in three frames of brood w/bees from the good hive and intend to introduce the new queen today. I had to get a Russian queen as trying to get a Carnolian queen here this time of year is like next to impossible. I hope this resolves the problem. This is the second problem with this hive and laying workers in less than a year. What keeps happening to the queen and why wonâ€™t they make their own?
On a side question, I did see evidence of skunk early this year; which was quickly resolved with #2 steel traps. How much damage can a skunk do to a hive? It couldnâ€™t have gotten the queen could it?