Population management is crucial. Lots of bees in a small area make it harder for the SHB to be a problem. Having a lot of frames and area not being covered by bees is harder for the bees to guard. You want to try to stay right on the edge of swarming. A little extra room is fine.. A follower board would be helpful to you. Pull the honey as it is capped and that keeps the SHB from being much of a problem also.
Eggs are what you are looking for in an inspection not capped brood. If you see eggs then your golden. If you see eggs and you see the queen then pinch that queen cell you spoke of. I would guess its not a viable cell.
I've had to work all weekend, so I've been away from beesource for a bit. Marymg, something certainly looks "off" when it comes to those larvae in the comb and on the floor of the hive. Normally, the mortuary bees would be taking care of any dead, so you would not have a build up of them in the hive.
How about a few pictures of the alive bees and comb in the hive? how many drawn combs in your topbar hive do you currently have? how many are full of pollen, how many just honey and how many brood frames? A few photos of the bees working the brood nest will show the rest of us if there are new, healthy nurse bees or if they are an aging population.
As to your other question about the sheet on the bottom of the screen to trap small hive beetles, I have used that before in my nucs that did not have the DE on them. I will post a few links here to my FB video. It will catch a bee or two, but it is worth it if the hive is battling SHB.
Hi Ruthie I have been away from the forum as well as we have had out of town company, so I have not been able to "bee" involved with my bees. I will try to get you the photos you asked for but AGAIN I am battling the thunderstorms and rain here. I feel like I should be an ark. I will put a swiffer sheet in the bottom of the hive in between the raindrops I have a screened bottom but do not open up the bottom door because of our nasty weather do you leave yours open, does temp matter?
Thank you for saying that because I was wondering if I was giving them too much space. I will rearrange the bars and put my follower board back in the hive to reduce the space they currently have because I believe they have about 6 or seven empty bars in there. I believe that I am also dealing with chilled brood because I have dead larvae on the bottom of the hive and maybe with too much space the bees can't keep everyone warm and that might be why the larvae are dying.
In an earlier post you mentioned you have added empty bars in between drawn comb. If you still have any empty bars or half-drawn comb the bees do not seem to be working on, move them behind the follower board. If your weather is cold and there is more than a "bee space" between two brood combs, it takes twice as many bees to keep the brood warm.