Pretty sure bulk of bees got wiped by mites. I found my Queen and want to save her. I’m really worried she won’t make it through the winter.
Okay so I'm still learning how to navigate this app. Couldn't post any pictures. This is my 3rd attempt at posting to this sub. Hopefully you guys will be able to see it this time. Also this is going to be a long one skip to the bottom for a very short, less detailed version of the story.
Okay, so to start this is my first beehive. I bought a 3lbs nuc in April. I was deligent and checked on them regularly. Fast forward to summer they were doing marvelous! They grew large in size and had completely filled the brood and super box. I didn't see the Queen but saw plenty of baby bees in all stages and so much capped honey! 🤤 During what I believe was a mid Fall checkup (lesson learned to keep a journal!) We tried to get into the boxes and prepare. (My fiance and I) We got through checking the super and ran out of daylight to thoroughly go through the brood box. Anyways that inspection resulted in both of getting stung about 3x each. Needless to say this discouraged me from wanting to look back into boxes until I had a full body bee suit (I only had a waist up bee suit at the time). Now fast forward to 3 days ago, with my full beesuit on I was able to go through each of the frames in the boxes. I was shocked at how little bees are left. I know they cull all the drones but the amount left was alarming! Easily less than 100 bees left in the colony. I saw a lot of dead bees in front of the hive but I assumed it was the drones. During the inspection I believe it was the mites (or possibly hive beetles) that killed most of my beautiful bees. The bottom brood box is practically empty. Some of the comb that was built during the summer is not filled in anymore. A lot of partially filled frames and almost all empty. There were some brood capped with a little hole which made me assume mites. The was one frame that had a good bit of spotty brood that was abandoned. We had a drone frame and hive trap that we didn't utilize effectively. The first few times I put the hive trap in the bees would cover the opening with wax so I stopped putting them in. We managed to put the drone frame in but whenever I checked on it the next time it was empty. Even now it is only partially used on one side. Anyways my thoughts are to take the bottom brood box and just freeze the whole thing. Make sure all the mites that were in it are dead. Scrape of all the comb to the foundation and just freeze it and start over. Meanwhile I removed the super and collect whatever honey is left and useable. HOWEVER, I my attempts to do so this morning I found the Queen. She looks so beautiful, I don't want her to die. Is there a way I can save her??? I'm thinking of removing the brood box still and just leaving the super. I was thinking maybe I can leave a heating pad on the top of the frames so that I can make sure they will stay warm during the winter. This is the point where I wish I had another box to compare with each other. How low is the numbers supposed to be in winter? I keep thinking how I wish I did more to control the mites. I feel so hopeful to think if she can make it through the winter they will be solid. I just don't know 😫
TL,DR: The bottom brood box is basically empty. Going to freeze it to get rid of whatever mites are left. Found the queen in a super, no eggs or larvae. Plenty of honey, pollen, etc. Temporarily put the super in the shed with a heating pad in hopes that she can survive the winter. Is it too late?