Queenless/bad queen hives?

Hey all. Hope you are enjoying the summer. I’m from the North-East Region of Victoria, running seven hives.

Just run into some occurences with two of my hives. The first one, I’ll call Hive A, was split off from one of my stronger hives spring last year. Now first of all I think I may be queenless. Last week I noticed a dib in capped brood. Some frames drawn out but with nothing on them. Today I noticed the beginning of queen cells and some cups. I spent awhile trying to find the queen but couldn’t. Capped brood but no eggs. A bit of larva. On top of the queen cells I gave them a frame of eggs from a stronger hive. That being said, would/should I put another box on top? They have drawn out the comb and has many bees on 8 out of the 9 frames. Just wondering as if they are queenless if it’s a good idea. They have strong numbers, so I doubt they would have swarmed at all, as I believe I didn’t spot any QC last week and they were still drawing out 3 frames.

Hive B was a swarm I collected a few weeks ago. Been feeding them reguarly, they have around 3-4 frames drawn. The queen is not laying much. Only on one frame do they have some brood with barely any eggs. She is a colourful queen, as I did see her during inspection today. Just wondering what to do, as they are on the small side colony wise. It is just strange as there is perfect comb for her to lay in but she isn’t at all.

Thanks! Any more questions please ask as I don’t want to lose two hives!

I should note Hive A did have a number of drones. Just hoping they aren’t raising a swarm, but little to no brood makes me think they are queenless.

Hi Tom, in regards to hive A: I wouldn’t be adding another super, on account that you’ll need to be inspecting to see if the colony is raising emergency queens on that frame of brood you added. Also it doesn’t sound like the population is going to expand without much emerging brood. It will most likely shrink before it swells due to normal mortality.

Hive B, you probably need to donate some nurse bees to that colony, because the queen can only lay eggs according to the strength of the colony, & most importantly the numbers of nurse bees that produce the royal jelly to feed to larvae.