Since the Sylvia hive is WAY behind Rachel in progress, we reduced the entrance of the hive in case there has been a robbing problem. The fewer bees don't need the full entrance, and the smaller entrance requires a smaller contingent of guard bees.
We're going back in this weekend to check for signs of a queen. Will have to plunder around a bit in the bottom brood box, which is disruptive, but important since the lack of a queen is possibly a major problem. We'll look for eggs and brood and then get back out as quickly as possible.
My learning for the week....I couldn't figure out how you were supposed to check for eggs and brood when the frames tend to be COVERED in bees when you pull them out. According to the forum at wncbees.org (link to right side of blog under "Western North Carolina Bees"), you blow gently on the bees and they will move away from your breath exposing part of the frame to view. Tips: brush your teeth, don't eat garlic...bees don't like bad breath. Also, be sure to wear your veil, as bees may fly at you when you blow them.