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Dead hive in 10-14 days

I had a relatively young hive but healthy. It had almost two full frames and was working on two others. Over about a 14 day period, I lost more than half my colony. All the cells were emptied and I could see some sort of larvae in the cells. I had weaned the colony off sugar and was allowing them to gather nectar. I am wondering if that was premature and they ran out of food? Or if this larvae I am seeing is a pest that destroyed the hive. I gave them some sugar water as a last-ditch effort to save the hive but they are probably under 200 workers and the queen probably didn’t survive. Can someone help me figure how to save or at least diagnose what happened to this hive to prevent it from happening again?
I am including several pictures of the comb and dead bees inside the cells (Not sure if that is an indicator) as well as of the larvae that was inside several cells.

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As you can see, only one picture appeared. In that picture I can see several hive beetle larvae. The eggs may have been laid after the population dwindled. Alternatively the hive beetle larvae could be more prolific in the other frames which could have caused the colony to abscond. The dead bees in the comb are bees that were yet to emerge. The beetle larvae will be feasting on them.

Something may have happened 14 days ago to give beetles a chance to lay eggs. For example: Dead bees inadvertently left between combs after an inspection.

Beetle larvae exude a slime, (coupled with the slime the beetles themselves create by dipping in honey & walking it everywhere, causing it to ferment) which is a bee repellent. If it’s in multiple places & too much for the bees to overcome, they will abscond.

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How sad to lose your bees, and so quickly. There’s a new lesson about small hive beetles at Thebeekeeper.org. I had just finished it before reading your post. It’s pretty interesting and might help you decide which preventative measures to put in place.

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Yes it was pretty upsetting. It was right when I was transitioning them from syrup to straight pollen so when the larvae destroyed their comb, honey, and brood, they had no alternate food source. I actually have already taken measures. I moved the hive onto pavement and where they get more sun during the first half of the day. I also used a needle to try and get out as much of the larvae eating the comb as I could before I moved the hive.

There are only what looks like a couple hundred left so the hive is circling the drain. As a last ditch effort, I am putting them back on 1:1 syrup, and I bought a new queen that should arrive by Thursday. I couldn’t find the queen so I fear that she died and I will see how they react when I introduce this mated queen. I’m hoping I can bring them back, but I fear there just isn’t enough left of the hive.

Such a weak colony would be prone to robbing, another reason why feeding syrup at this stage may be a losing battle.

With so few bees (and foragers) I doubt your new queen will be able to get enough momentum going to make the process worthwhile. You need bees to make more bees.

Do you know anyone who could take a split off of one of their hives? You could add your new queen to this split. Could you switch your queen order to a package? Getting late in the season to start from scratch but if you are diligent you could probably make it work.

To rid the combs of larvae, the easiest way would be to freeze, if they are salvageable.

Yes I know the hive is extremely weak. I also know it may be a losing battle. However, this being my first hive, I am desperate to see it succeed. And should the new queen fail to either be accepted or due to just too little bees the whole colony fail, well then I only spent 60 extra dollars on the queen.

I would have liked to get a package but unfortunately this late in June, nobody is shipping anymore and there isn’t anybody I know locally that can give me a split.

I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping I can nurse them back to health but I know the outlook is grim.

Good luck! Keep us posted. I’m sure everyone is happy to help if we can.

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In taking “a couple of hundred bees” literally, that is definitely not enough bees to build up from. You will be wasting your 60$ plus the new queen will perish. For your colony to survive & build up, you’ll need at least 2 frames worth of nurse bees. You desperately need to find someone who can sell you some nurse bees. You definitely need to keep those larvae infested frames out of the hive. Even if you remove every grub, the leftover slime will drive the bees away.

You desperately need a local mentor (sorry for repeating myself) who can help you out with advice (especially on hive beetle) as well as some bees (not a full nuc), also some replacement brood frames that hold some honey & pollen.

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