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Advice needed: Hive swarmed 6 Aug and now it’s queenless and robbed out. What to do next?

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Advice needed: Hive swarmed 6 Aug and now it’s queenless and robbed out. What to do next?

I caught a small swarm in early June that was going gangbusters until last Thursday when it swarmed out. The queen took over half the hive and left three queen cells, I wasn't able to recover the swarm. I am still kicking myself for getting wrapped up in work and not checking in on them.

I waited ten days and just this morning checked in on them. The queen cells are being dismantled and there is old brood still capped in the top deep, but the bottom deep is EMPTY and there is no sign of a live queen anywhere (no eggs/larvae/etc). There was some serious robbing going on this past week, I put up an entrance reducer but was apparently too late and the hive was too weak.

Additionally, there is a laying worker. She just started, but she's there.

My only other two hives are nucs installed three weeks ago that are sorta struggling themselves, haven't even filled a single deep with comb yet.

So I have decisions to make:

Should I:

  1. Merge a drawn out box from the old hive with each of the newer hives using the newspaper method to give those two hives some drawn comb to store up honey.
  2. Try to find a queen for the swarmed out hive and see if I can't get her to build up for winter.
  3. Let nature take its course and recover the drawn comb for next year.
  4. Other??

Let me know what you all would do in this situation.

submitted by /u/quietlifeintheforest
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