Today is one of those days as a first year beekeeper I ask "Now why did I decide to do this again?!". I would appreciate some feedback and advice on this situation.
I have two hives I got from packages in April. Both seemed to be doing reasonably well all spring and summer building up their numbers pretty well. Both hives have filled two-eight frame mediums with brood and stores.
After our main nectar flow ended about a month ago, I noticed their honey stores seemed to be pretty light so I started feeding them 2:1 sugar syrup. They have been eating a quart every 2-4 days.
The hives had been getting a few hive beetles. Nothing huge, I would just see 10-15 scurry on the inner cover when I opened the hive. I installed the Freeman beetle trap and that knocked the number back down. Other than doing a few powdered sugar treatments to chase beetles into the trap I have not used any kind of treatments.
A few days ago, I began to notice one of the hives had bees crawling in the front of it and scattered across the field in front of the hive about 50 feet or so. I would estimate the number was 50-100. This is still going on. Bees crawl in the grass and try to fly but can't. I lift them up and they can generally fly only 5 feet or so. Their wings appear to be okay to me and the bee's overall health appears good. I can provide a picture if needed. My second hive seems to be unaffected.
I did a little reading and saw where this could be a problem caused by higher levels of varroa mites. I opened up the hive a did a powdered sugar roll with 1/2 cup of bees. Only one mite came off. There were a few, maybe 30-40 mites in the Freeman oil tray since I put the oil in about a week ago. I did, however, see at least two bees that had deformed wing virus. That is the first time I've seen this.
Another unusual observation was there was quite a few less bees than I'd seen in previous inspections. There weren't enough to cover the combs even 50%. There was no brood to speak of, capped or uncapped. I did see a significant number of eggs though (one egg per cell, not a laying worker). The hive is LOADED with pollen and stores. I mean there is a ton of pollen in there. I did not see the queen but assume there is one since there are eggs.
Would anyone care to offer me some opinions as to why there are bees that can't fly, no brood, and less bees than normal? I must admit I'm pretty baffled by this. Thanks to anyone for giving me some feedback and advice on what to do.