This weekend proved to be heartbreaking. The two Five Frame Nucs I made have both been destroyed by hive beetles.
Out of the two nucs, one was filled with lots of bees from Hive-A. It should have been a strong hive but I didn't secure the bottom of the feeder properly and it left a hole for the bees to get in. Half of them drown while the other half got trapped in the feeder box leaving the hive defenseless.
The result was an inch thick layer of muck and beetle maggots on the bottom board. The infestation was epic. The fowl smell emanating from the boxes distinctly resembled a hog pen.
The other nuc was also infested and destroyed but not like the first one - though dead is dead.
I took all the frames out and brushed the bees into the air over a Mini Mating Nuc - letting them fly down to the box that I placed in the location of the infected nucs. I then placed each frame on the ground (not the best move but I was scrambling). When I was done, I took the (8) most infested frames and placed them in a trash bag that I put in the freezer - I tried to fit all ten but I didn't have room. The other two I put in the sun.
I finally went for the nuclear option in hopes of preserving Hive-D at my house - I used Diatomaceous-earth. I spread it in a 4'x4' area under the hive and then covered that with cedar chips.
This was the last thing I wanted to do but my bees are in dire straights. My way of thinking is that the beetle larva will burrow into the ground beneath the hive to pupate and when they emerge the beetle will pass through the Diatomaceous earth and die - while the cedar chips will keep the bees from being exposed.
I am also looking into getting some chickens. This option is only possible at my house but I'm going to try it out. However since I can only seem to find baby chicks (rather than grown birds) it will be a couple of months before they are old enough to be of any use.
Tractor Supply sells them by mail but you have to get (10) and I only want about (3). That being said, here is a quote from the website:
Egg Production Rate: Females ONLY; Ranges from 264-285 eggs/year
You just know they had to put that "female ONLY" part in there because some jackass called complaining that his roosters just weren't laying.