Long story short, it was in the mid 60s last week and I decided to just quickly see if I could find any brood in the top box. Problem is the frames are all spread out as far as they can possibly be, and theres propolis between the frames so they don’t come out so easy and sure as heck don’t slide back in very easy. I sort of picked up one of the center frames and only looked at those center frames (it was a bit too cold for me to want to take frames out of the hive and leave them there), so I was basically just putting the center frames back into their hole. I was as careful as possible, but found that all the propolis made it **** near impossible to gently slide the frame back into the hive. I did a little forceful shove for that last 1 inch or so. It’s been 4 days since my inspection. Are there any obvious signs that the hive has gone queenless I should be looking for without taking frames out for another inspection in the cool weather? It’s still going to be in the 50s here for a week or two, so I’m reluctant to start pulling out frames looking for queen cells or eggs (during my inspection I found week old brood, but stopped the inspection before I could find any freshly laid eggs).
Bees do tend to be a little grumpier when they are queenless, but it’s not always very noticeable. My one hive is queenless right now, waiting for a new queen to hatch, and they are acting pretty much normal from afar. You mentioned your frames are spread out really far. The last time you inspected, did you push the frames close together before you left? Because that can really help with propolis. Are you only concerned that the hive is queenless because you were rough with that one frame? Unless something else seems off with the hive, I feel like it’s improbable that something happened to the queen from that one incident. Yes, it’s possible she was under the ears and you crushed her, but unless you have reason to believe she was right there, it’s equally possible that she wasn’t.