I have avoided my beehives this summer, except to feed the one that I knew was in trouble, and try to save comb for the top bar after I let the neighborhood bees rob it out. I'd pretty much resigned myself to buying two new packages next spring and just letting the hundred bees remaining in the top bar hive do their thing until they died of old age (roughly 4-6 weeks, this time of year). I was sad, and although I'm not much of an avoider, I avoided dealing with it.
A few weeks ago I noticed that the remaining bees seemed to be huddled in a clump, so I checked to see if there were eggs, but saw nothing. They worked on rebuilding their combs for a bit, so I stopped checking. That is, until this morning. There seemed to be quite a lot of activity around the top bar hive, and at first I thought that there were just robber bees coming and going. Except there's no honey to rob. So I suited up and checked out the hive.
Since I was in gear and had my smoker going (though there's no need for a smoker when there's no brood- or honey, for that matter- I lit it anyway because there were so many bees), I decided to check my other (langstroth) hive. The queen in the new hive was never very active. I didn't see any eggs or larvae, but I saw a lot of drones, a smattering of capped brood (both worker brood, which is flat, and drone brood, which protrudes like a pencil eraser), an on the bottom of one comb, a recently-vacated queen cup: