I have heard alot about winter kill, whether by mites, cold, or other. One problem or cause is what I have concluded killed some of my hives.
In central PA, a drought followed by almost no fall honey due to an early frost, caused the queens to shut down for an extended period of time. I did not fall feed my hives to stimulate brood production which was very critical to ensure YOUNG bees headed into to this very long cold winter.
Hives were packed full of honey, no desease or major mites present, but alot of hives dead. This scenerio sounds alot like what I'm hearing from others.
I overlooked the importance of fall brood, stimulated by a late flow, (which occurred naturally in the past several years) and paid the price. Old bees going into a long cold winter kills. Anyone else?