I need advice. 5 weeks ago before we went on vacation I checked my first year TBH. The girls were doing great, new comb, new brood and capped and uncapped honey. They were doing just what I'd hope they would and I saw no signs of pest or oddities going on. We left for vacation for a week, when we got back my mom went into the hospital and needless to say for the last several weeks I've not been out to check the hive. Friday I went out, finally home during the day with free time I was eager to go see my girls, what I found left me incredibly sad and somewhat confused.
Most of the girls are gone, there is maybe a package worth near the far end. The comb that was gloriously full of bees, brood and honey is all dry and empty. Some comb had holes all the way through it and I spotted small hive beetles as well. However no slime, no funky anything on any of the comb where there are still bees. I noticed that two of the ventilation holes at the top that had screen stapled over them had been chewed through. I made sugar syrup for the remaining bees and put the feeder in the hive with them and I closed off the ventilation holes that had been chewed through.
Now my girls have been very docile since I first got them, I could inspect without need for smoking with ease. Yes they'd come out to check me out but the buzz from the hive always remained the same. This time though when I started to move toward the bars that still contained bees and comb they were not pleased at all. The pitch of the buzz changed dramatically and they started coming out at me and seemed very irritated. I stopped and decided to give them a chance to settle and feed hoping that they would calm some with a food source close by.
I checked this morning and added a second 2:1 syrup bottle to the feeder inside. I put the feet of the hive in moats with oil and water to stop the ant march up the legs and into the hive. I've always made sure that no weeds or anything were touching the hive so that pest couldn't get in.
I'm sad and angry and I don't know if I did something wrong or if this is just part of the 'experience'. In all honesty I'm not very hopeful that feeding them at this point will do any good and fear that they won't make it through the winter.
Any advice, suggestions or thoughts will be appreciated.