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Queenless, maybe?

Good morning.  So I was super motivated to get into my hives (new this year) yesterday after the monthly class at Beez Needz Saturday (thanks again guys!).    And boy were they pissed off!  So the first hive has mites and with the last two months of training I know what to do there! The problem came with my second hive.   I couldn't find the queen and I have only one frame of spotty brood, if you can even call it that.  The rest are all honey and pollen.   I'm new to this so I've been extensively reading as I wait for Keith to open up so I can get a new queen.  Now I am wondering if I should do a "test" first to ensure I don't have a virgin queen in there (I did see two open queen cells!).   Got this from the pink pages:  "It is easy to TEST to see if a colony is queenless: Select a frame of eggs and VERY YOUNG larvae from another hive and place it in the suspicious colony. If the bees start building EMERGENCY CELLS on the face surface of the comb of that frame and surround a larva with royal jelly, the colony is queenless."  This is pushing the boundaries of my new beekeeperness.   If there is anyone willing and able to help me out, I would really appreciate the extra set of eyes and direction on what to do here.  Thank you!   -Meghan

I can't make the trip down to be that extra pair of eyes, but I would put the test frame in and check in 4 days.  I "number" my frames from the back of the hive, left to right.  Left most is "1."  Right most is "5" "8" or "10" depending on the hive in use.  I always put the test frame in the top super in the number 4 position.  That way I don't have to remember, write down, or mark the position or dig through the hive to check it out.  You won't be able to do this if your brood is in a deep and your top super is a medium.  You will just have to go in and check.

I come from at least 1 frame away on either side of the test frame.  I do not want to lift the test frame and risk damaging queen cells if they are attached somewhere or are too close to frame 3 or frame 5.

We are getting at the time where your better option would be to buy a queen if the test shows you need one.  Earlier in the season, I select a test frame from a queen I like, and am willing to have the hive make a daughter queen if they will.  I have enough hives that in this situation I still might try and let mine re-queen from the test frame, but I don't think that may be the best option of you have 2 or 3 hives.

I'm not sure if I have brood in the medium I have on the second hive.  (it would have to be a medium to medium transfer in my case).   I'll have to go look again.   The current medium on top of the one in question is SLAMMED with honey.  I couldn't get the frames out without making a complete mess so I stopped messing!   I'll have to put a new medium on (either way, for a test or new queen) so that's not really an issue.   I could put another deep on and do a deep to deep many options!!  Thank you very much for the advice and responding 🙂

Just had another thought...don't want to introduce possibly mite infested brood to a hive with no mites (no brood=zero to no mites, right?).   Thinking go with a new queen, put some combed out frames and hope she gets to it!   Thoughts...?