Before the inspection, comparisons between the 2 hives: one is much more busy than the other.
Opening the problem hive (left), and looking at the feeder. It is empty, which is great. It took 2 weeks to the problem hive to empty its feeder, while the good hives goes through the same quantity of syrup (8 quarts) in 1 week.
Continuing with the problem hive. The feeder is removed, exposing the top supper. Very few bees, and very little cell building in the frames of that supper.
We now remove the top supper (very little going on there), and look at the supper below. Much more bees and activity going on, which is encouraging. That bottom supper is about 90% full.
Whereas on the good hive eggs and larva are everywhere, I found only one spot in the entire problem hive with eggs and uncapped larva. The picture shows the is extent of it.
Then I found 2 or 3 frames where the cells are empty: no nectar, no syrup, no larvas, no cap, few bees on them. The good hive, in comparison has none of those deserted frames.
Those empty frames where one of the elements which started to have me worried.
Then about 3 frames with caped brood, which looked OK.
A few frames had dark looking cell caps in the corner, which does not look too healthy (the good hive has none of this). This is what had me worried about fool brood in the first place. However I pocked some of those cell caps with the hive tool on this inspection and they appear to contain honey. Nothing gooey nor any dead larva that I could tell. No bad smell.
Then I found the queen on one of the side frame. She has the torax marking, so this is the original queen that came with the nuc I got mid April. The queen was doing fine. Then I put the hive back together, wiped and refilled the feeder with syrup, and inspected the tray under the hive. I found about 6 or 7 hive beetles there, which I removed. There was no hive beetle in the good hive’s tray.