Hello I am a new beekeeper this year. I live in southern Illinois near St. Louis and I have four hives which I started in late spring. I had ordered 2 packages of bees which I started in late May but before they got here, I caught two swarms in my pasture and they both took, so I had to scramble to get more hives together. So all 4 hives seemed to grow rapidly this summer despite a terrible drought throughout July and August. But just over the past week or so I have noticed that one of the hives (one of the 2 packages I had installed) is not doing well. I have noticed more and more dead bees at the hive entrance each day and today the most of all with dead bees in the hundreds. I opened the hive yesterday to check it out and the cluster seemed sluggish and they havent filled much of the honey super on top as the other 3 hives have (the hive has 2 deep supers and one medium on top). Now I suspect it could be some sort of mites based on what I have been reading. The reason I think this is very likely is because all 3 of the other hives I placed a screened bottom board between the solid bottom board and the bottom deep box. But as I said I had to scramble for hive parts in the spring and I only ended up ordering 3 screened boards. So the only difference between this hive and the others that I know of is its sitting on a solid bottom board with no screen...
Anyway does this sound like it could be mites affecting this hive? As I said it has scores or even a couple hundred dead bees at the entrance each day and seemingly more each day. It also has a few bees crawling around seemingly drunk and perhaps with mangled looking wings at the entrance as well. I have ordered a screened board from Brushy Mtn Bee farm today, but I expect it will take a week or so to arrive. Is there anything I can do in the interim to help these bees until it gets here? I have read perhaps sprinkling them with powdered sugar is a possible step does anyone advise that?
Thanks any help is very much appreciated!