I had a hive that appeared to be my largest population. Both this year and last. This hive didn't produce anymore than the others last year but seemed to have a larger population, was always bearding far more than the other hives and just seemed to have more activity than the others. Filled frames faster, expanded sooner etc etc.
When the hives started showing significant activity this year again this hive seemed much more active and seemed to come out of winter with a larger population.
The first time I got into this hive it seemed like it consumed far more stores than the other hives and was the only hive that I felt I need to add stores to. I added two extra frames of honey from last year.
When the weather had a stretch of warm days I then went into the hive again to do a bit further inspection. This hive seemed to have lost a large portion of it's population from the check 2-3 weeks earlier. This was also the only hive that had any significant amount of dead bees in the bottom board. The hive had some capped brood and some larva but not a significant amount and I found no new eggs.
One week later this hive seems to have some capped brood and no larva, so I'm assuming the queen either died or left.
I did do a mite check on all the hive and this hive appears to have as many mites as the other ones with 2-3 times the population.
My only guesses would be A) this hive swarmed. However this would have had to have happened in mid March which seems unlikely...although we have had insane weather. B) Some disease, parasite killed the queen and many bees although there didn't seem to be nearly as many dead bees as there were missing. C) of course I could have squished the queen in early march late Feb when I added the frames of honey, but I find that unlikely since I only messed with the top box and only outside frames.
Can mites take out a hive like this so early? Can mites kill the queen?
Any help or insight would be appreciated.
As to what to do with this hive I decided to add a frame of capped brood and a frame of 1-2 day old eggs from another hive. Will do this once a week for a couple weeks. Hopefully they will raise a queen and the added brood will boost population...if not this ones a goner.