I went out to feed one of my outyards this morning and found to my dismay that both hives were dead.
Both hives have the same or very similar characteristics. Both hives appeared to be alive exactly one week ago, and both hives were alive and queenright exactly two weeks and two days ago.
Both hives have capped brood, one more than the other and brood nests about the size and shape of a kid's football. Some of the brood is partially emerged but not all of them have their tongues out.
There is a mess of damp bees at the bottom of both hives about half an inch deep and there was a pile of bees inside one hive beneath the entrance at one corner about two inches deep.
Both hives had been robbed of all stored honey and both were being picked over by wasps and hornets.
I was unable to find a dead mite among the bees.
One queen was a split from this spring and the other was a queen I purchased from Zia Queenbee.
Both hives have been fed for the past month or so with 3:2 sugar syrup and were emptying 1.5 gallon feeders in under a week.
There did not appear to be many bees dead in front of the hives.
The hives were located on a 40 acre undeveloped piece of land surrounded by residential areas. They were in full sun until late afternoon when they were shaded by a tree.
What do you think?