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What does this pattern mean? (Pics in comments)

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What does this pattern mean? (Pics in comments)

I’m very confused by what’s going on in this hive. I use all Westerns – right now I’ve got four boxes, brood in the bottom three and the very beginnings of resources in the top. I have not been able to spot my queen in my last two or three inspections. There was some evidence of attempts at supercedure cells, but there was also a healthy brood pattern with eggs and larvae at all stages of development. I just let it go and figured the bees would sort it out. Now I have this weirdness.

Picture one is what I saw all through the brood nest in the bottom two boxes – no real sign of eggs, tons of randomly patterned drone brood, bees backfilling with nectar, so I panicked thinking my queen is dead and I’ve got a laying worker. But then I got up to my third box and see what looks to me like a fairly normal pattern again (pictures 2-4) – eggs that seem to be properly placed, multiple stages of larva, maybe more drone brood than I’d like, but also plenty of normal worker brood. No new supercedure cells. Do I need to go buy a new queen to be on the safe side?

submitted by /u/chachahamass
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