Introduction and ??'s: Nosema? Growing Pains? Trach Mites?
Greetings, and let me start by saying thanks up front for a great forum with everyone's insights, curiosity, hard work, willingness to help, etc., etc. I am brand new to beekeeping and fell in love with TBHs immediately. Though starting late, I was able to make a hive (with observation widows) and then put bees in on June 1st. Here's my short history with my current questions/concerns:
June 1: Installed a 5 frame nuc. Had to chop & crop. 3 frames/bars were dark brown/black with brood and honey and were easy to cut and install. 1 frame/bar had brood on tough yellow plastic with some brood emerging as I worked. The last frame was also tough yellow plastic and it barely had comb started so I didn't install it.
After install, the bees seemed fine. They covered the old comb and started drawing new comb. I set up a station feeder with 1:1 syrup in a poultry feeder, and I usually left around 1-2 tablespoons of pollen (from a local health store) on their landing board each day. They usually took in all the pollen each day, but never seemed to touch the syrup.
Around June 6: The bees seemed to cluster and "beard" outside the entrance/above the landing board in the evenings, and I started worrying about swarming. I also want to rotate the original chopped nuc bars out, so I placed empty top bars between the chopped nucs, including one at the entrance. I discovered that they had been very busy making some new white comb on a couple of empty top bars that were behind the 4 chopped nucs. I also swapped out the 1:1 syrup for 2:1 and placed it on a table right in front of the hive. Still no takers. But they kept taking the pollen on the landing board.
June 11 (Monday) to now: Noticed a few bees walking "aimlessly" on ground about 5 feet from hive, and this has been increasing. I also see more dead bees--about 5-10--on the ground, and a few in the hive. (This morning there were two on the landing board who were just about dead. ) Their activity around the rear comb/bars seems at a standstill, and there's no "congestion" below the comb and the bottom screen (like in the past). The entrance is not "congested" either. It looks almost unguarded actually, so I plugged 2/3 of the openings.
I switched back to 1:1 syrup in the station feeder, and even added a small shallow bowl feeder inside the hive. I've only seen one bee feed from the hive feeder though. I plan on doing a complete inspection this afternoon (weather permitting) to see what the brood and laying patterns look like, and to see if I can find the queen.
But I'm wondering if I stressed them into Nosmema, and/or is something else is happening.
I'll post what I see, but any comments/thoughts are welcome in the meantime.
Thanks in advance.