Yesterday's inspection was interesting. I saw several frames of capped brood in all of my hives. I also found eggs in the top box of the hives where I reversed the boxes a couple weeks ago. What this means is the queen has moved up to the "new" top box (that used to be the old bottom box) and started laying eggs. I left the few I didn't reverse in their original order. I'll use this as an "experiment" of sorts to see if reversing the boxes in Spring boosts the brood. I will say that I had to get in the bottom box of one of the hives I didn't reverse because a frame was left out and it was a mess! I noticed not one frame of brood or eggs down there. Will the queen eventually go down to the first box and start laying? Sure! The advantage to reversing boxes is bees have a tendency to want to grow starting at the bottom and then growing upwards. Does this tendency make the queen build up brood faster? Also, some beekeepers think that if you reverse boxes and move the empty box to the top, the bees will have less tendency to swarm. They think the bees don't see the empty bottom box as empty space to use. Make sense?
Beekeeping is never absolute. That's one of the hardest and coolest things about it! Just when you think you have the bees figured out, they do the complete opposite. A lot of people starting out want to read a "how to guide" on beekeeping and they want the bees to do everything like the book says. That doesn't happen.
Update on the hive without a queen. Remember I gave it a frame of eggs on 03/07/2020. I took a quick peak on 03/17/2020 and didn't see a queen cell. I looked at this hive yesterday and it still has no eggs and now all the eggs I gave it on 03/07/2020 are capped brood...but mostly drone brood. Perhaps the frame I gave it was mostly drone eggs. So, I stole another frame of eggs that I'm pretty sure are worker eggs, as they are with worker capped brood. I'm going to see if they make a new queen one more time! If they don't I'll either merge this hive with another hive or I'll give it a frame of capped brood from another hive and try to find a mated queen. My next inspection on or around 04/05/2020 will help me decide.
In closing, I want to speak about the coronavirus. A lot of you want answers about pickups. I'm sorry, but there are no answers to provide right now. I've paid for the bees and we are going forward. If we have to stagger pick up times to one person every 10-15 minutes, we'll do that. If we have to do one couple per hour for the inside the hive class, we'll do that. We will do what we need to do to get pickups done. The US is changing week to week with this virus, so I can't possibly make a plan today for what will happen over a month from now. I'd appreciate it if you would just be patient and give it some time. Please trust me when I say I appreciate all of you and we will figure this all out when it's time. Thank you!