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Empty Frames Going Into Fall/Winter

Hello everyone!

I purchased a new nuc this year. Almost immediately I started having issues with them. The queen and her replacement died, and I had a very bad laying worker problem. My local apiary advised I just shake the bees and give up, but it was early enough that I thought I could help. I re-queened the hive, and they ended up killing her and re-queening themselves.

Over the span of this happening, their population never was able to fully recover from when they first had the laying workers. I ended up moving them back into the nuc box to help protect them because I noticed their frames, which had all been full, were suddenly stripped. I started feeding aggressively, but nothing has worked. The frames still remain empty. I am not sure if they are still being robbed or simply not able to keep up with their demand.

At this point in September, I was hoping they would be on the mend; however, they are not.

I am hoping someone has some guidance on what they would do moving forward! I had planned to combine hives, but I have heard that is not the best idea. It also breaks my heart to have to pinch their current queen as she is such an amazing layer.

Also, I have tested this hive multiple times, and they do not have a mite problem.

From what your saying combining the hives might be your only option for the bees to survive the Winter. A little confusing as your profile says you have only one hive. I guess that is out of date. To combine two hives I would use the news paper method and terminate the less performing queen. Consider her age, a good layer and full laying pattern. Feed syrup so they can build up stores for the Winter.