Hi, I'm new to beekeeping as of this year, and I need help with saving my Caucasian Nuc. Colony. This is Old Sol lines out of Oregon. Edit: not directly from Old Sol Apiaries, but rather bred by a 3rd party from their stock they purchased from Old Sol.
Edit: I'm in gardening zone 6b
5/3/19 I picked up this nuc. I was told they were treated with Formic this spring. I drove 5 hours one way to get them. I was the last to arrive that day, and the one remaining nuc was not robust. The guy who helped me load my nuc told me it was pathetic compared to the others he had sold that day. It looked like about half the bees I was shown in pictures of what I was buying. However, my pre-payment was nonrefundable, and he said he had customers waitlisted & willing to pay the full price if I didn't want to take them home. What was I to do? I didn't want to lose my $230, plus the $80 in gas I was spending. I felt I wasn't being dealt with fairly, but my request for a refund was denied. My trip home was 7 hours because I was advised I'd have to pull over every 30 minutes to mist the vent holes to prevent the cluster from 'cooking the queen' in this plastic nuc. The seller was worried there wasn't adequate ventilation.
On installation, I found a hatched queen swarm cell on the bottom of one frame. I believe what I picked up is the remains of a swarmed out nuc. There was only a tiny cluster of capped brood on one of the frames, but there was open larvae & the queen was alive & marked.
Last weekend, I observed a bee with deformed wings exiting the hive. She attempted to groom herself on the landing board for quite some time. I had done a brood box inspection the day before, and there wasn't too much improvement in the brood count.
The queens was alive, but I don't seem to be able to spot eggs yet. Maybe it's just my inexperienced eyes.
What steps should I take to possibly save this poor colony? I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Is there any hope for my Caucasians?