This is terrible, Barlon, my sympathies. Usually the only looking after stingless hives require is not to be touched. And to be checked on occasionally. You could have hung them on a rope from a tree had you known what was going on with the chooks.
I also lost two stingless (T hockingsi) hives in the past week, but under much better circumstances. Mine have all been splits, and I'd promised one to a friend for pollination after her neighbour threatened my european bees. Seeing as european hives are worth $450 and a can of flyspray is $4.50, I moved them the day after he complained to the council. I reckon that you can hide stingless bees a lot more easily. So she collected it this week. The other was unexpected, a phone call from someone wanting to buy a hive. I didn't mean to sell one, but the trouble was who it was being given to. My landlord said that you couldn't find better people, and I know them to play the accordion and uke very well, and I sort of broke and now they have my other strongest hive.
My two remaining are a bit weaker, but had plenty of brood when I inspected. They are in town where they do much better and where there is a cluster of hives nearby. I was paranoid yesterday evening though when I couldn't see a bee flying, guarding, or hear them, but old mate rang this morning and said the bees were buzzing in both hives. It must have been just too late when I saw them.
Thanks, Barlon, for your information and stories about your local little bees over there in the Territory, and I look forward to reading more progress reports (hopefully happier ones).