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I'm in the same shape with two hives. The one just plain went empty. I believe they little by little up and left. The second is now real nasty. I may add a frame of brood and let them be.

I was considering adding a queen, but decided against. If the queen failed, but is still in the hive, her subjects will give an introduced queen the fate of Marie Antoinette.

I also have two queen-less splits in the works. I'm torn between letting the hive die and renew with one of the nucs since most of those bees will be dead by the time they raise a new queen and since we are in a dearth, I'll be feeding dead girls walking at my expense.

Six mites from a standard sugar roll is not worth pulling the fire alarm. I was devastated when our inspector found eight, but he showed me other's who had 40 and 50. Last year I tried interrupting the brood cycle with no success. By fall all my hives had counts of 20+ with one at 78. I brought them down with formic acid pads and 4 of 5 made it through winter. The one with 78 is doing fine. Formic acid occurs naturally, but purchased is manufactured. It also leaves no residuals.

I also found a few small hive beetles. I read they can sniff out a hive in distress such as one without a queen and travel miles to take up residence. That's another reason I'm thinking of building back from a nuc.

Think of this as a great way to get hands-on learning and develop your own habits for your local conditions.
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