Hi this was a strong nuc with 2007 queen. dunno what happened to it. there were visible mites in the cluster although I did not do a count. I did not treat - big mistake!
cluster was next to the honey
this is end frame, there was 1 more frame with the similar sized cluster.
lot of dead bees at the bottom
so what do you think happened?
I would say too few bees to keep warm, at least at the end. Why there were too few bees is another question. The answer could be mites, or something else.
I agree with Ross. Too small cluster due to mites or failing queen. If you still have that cluster, check for the queen, if you don't find it there is a chance they entered the winter queenless.
Good luck Gilman
There was a queen in that cluster. I think mites is the most likely problem. :(
When did you start this nuc and when was the last time you measured the strength?
This was actually a strong hive double deep at one time (this summer) however towards fall it dwindled in numbers.It was from last year 2007 and it wintered well last year. gave me a little honey also in 2007. The last time I checked was in oct it was occupying 5 frames. I put a super on it 5 on 5 and put sugar on top 5 lbs. However it kept going down in numbers I couldn't find out what was wrong. in dec I found it to be dead one day. This was a no treatment hive.
I am going to do powdered sugar from now on.
The steady decline in numbers indicate a failing queen or an issue like foul brood. How did your brood frames look back in the fall?
Is it really foulbrood?
They had a lot of dead brood in the adjoining frames. capped and abandoned. The amount of brood was much more than the bees could cover.
as a side note my other hive also met the same fate it was a full sized hive when I combined a weak nuc (after killing the queen) and about 4 weeks from then I found the hive dead. small cluster and no dead bees at the bottom. So foul brood becomes a real possibility. Although the frames are not smelling any different.
whats the best way to find out?
I would like to find out before I get new bees this spring.:scratch:
send a sample of brood comb to the bee lab. It is free, only costs you postage. www.ars.usda.gov.