I am a first year beekeeper with my first 10 frame hive and I need urgent help. I got my colony from a nuc in April. They seemed to be doing great despite a few small hive beetles here and there.
Well, a couple of weeks ago I made a horrible rookie mistake with my top feeder. I took out the rafts in my Dadant hive-top feeder because the beetles were hiding under it when the sugar syrup ran out. So instead of the rafts I floated corks in the troughs but they did not work. I opened up the top and found several hundred bees drowned in there. It was awful. I saw a couple of long larvae squirming among them which I assume were SHB larvae.
So I cleaned them out and left the feeder empty for a few days for the bees to clean out, which they did. The hive appeared to be ok about a week later. But yesterday I did an inspection and there is no brood, either capped or uncapped. I DID see the queen though, and also one supercedure cell in the middle of a frame. There is plenty of capped honey and lots of pollen. I could not see any eggs or larvae at all, even though the queen was there--I did not even see diseased or damaged larvae. I have a million questions, namely:
1) Could the stress of losing several hundred workers cause a pause in egg-laying or brood rearing from the other workers? Or did the beetles wipe them out?
2) Should I let the supercedure take place or remove the cell? I am not interested in harvesting honey this year if it's not gonna happen, I just want the colony to survive.
3) I have two bare frames and one side of two other frames that the bees are not drawing out with comb. Should I add on a super now, or will that just provide more room for beetles to hide?
4) Any other advice on what I should I do?
Thank you all for sharing your expertise!