I went through my whole hive today. Without getting stung too! I went through my upper hive body box and it didn't look great but it wasn't terrible. Lots of bees (a solid layer on both sides of each frame), spotty brood (tan cappings). I did see a few bees emerging from the brood chambers even. I saw NO capped honey (starving?) and no queen. I did see 2 empty queen cells.
When I got to the lower box I knew I was in trouble. It was black with mold. There were very few bees in it. So I lifted it off the bottom board to see what I had there and it was piled deep with dead black rotting bees and maggots. There was, what looked like, chalk brood also. Every frame in that box was moldy and filled with dead brood and bees. Lots of bees dead head first in comb (starving?) There was a little bit of honey in the corner of a few frames. The frames were molded all the way around. I just shook off the few live bees and bagged up the frames and threw them out. Not worth saving at all. I threw the bottom board away as well.
Here are some pics of the bottom board. I didn't see mites on any of the bees and the brood emerging (watched 2) had perfect wings (no signs of mites there). Do we think I'm dealing with starvation here or something more serious? Should I just start feeding and get them a queen or is this hive beyond saving?
During the day there is tons of activity from the hive. Bees going in with full pollen sacks and then back out. Help me know what to do here.
I guess this is what you get when you get a "free" hive huh?