I found today that one of my two hives is missing all signs of a queen. No eggs or brood pattern. No queen (although this queen, when I released her from her queen cell about six weeks ago, looked like a big worker bee - very difficult to spot). In the bottom brood box I found what seems to be an emergency queen cell and some drone cells. In the second brood box I found two frames with what seemed to be abandoned brood. I’m attaching some photographs below.
The bees in the photograph are bees that died while emerging from their cells (sad).
Some background: The last time I inspected this hive, on 29 March, I flipped the two brood boxes since the queen was laying in the top brood box and they say flipping the boxes would encourage the queen to move upwards and expand. At that point there was capped brood and plenty of eggs. I didn’t spot the queen then either. Mite count has been very low.
As I see it I have two options:
Wait and see if a queen emerges from that queen cell, mates, and starts to lay, or
Try to join my two hives together by placing the failed hive on top of the other hive with a sheet of newspaper between them
One concern is the timeline - is there sufficient time for a queen to emerge, mate and start laying in this situation? The other concerns is what caused the failure? There is still larvae in the cells but it is not being tended to whatsoever. Perhaps joining the hives would bring down the other hive too if there is an infectious element at play.
Thank you everyone for your advice!