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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Nelson County, Virginia
    Posts
    3

    Default Dead Hive - What happened?

    I live in Virginia, where like much of the country, the seasons have been a little strange. The summer was filled with rain; the winter has been unusually cold and snowy.

    My colony was very healthy going into the winter, and had plenty of honey stored. I last checked on them in early January. They still appeared to be okay, and had a fair amount of honey left. Then we went from 50-60 degree days to subzero temps. There was an intense wind storm, then more sub-zero temps with lots of ice, snow and sleet. It began to warm finally with lots of sunshine. Today was in the 50s and windless. I approached the hive and saw the front littered with dead bodies. There was no sound from inside. This is what I found:

    IMG_0146.jpgIMG_0147.jpgIMG_0150.jpg
    Lots of honey & nectar still in there:
    IMG_0155.jpg
    A few areas looked like this:
    IMG_0158.jpg

    What happened here?

    On another note, I removed the frames and scraped to retrieve honey. The plastic seemed to just disintegrate, and I wasn't being rough, it just melted. You can also see that the edges of the plastic seem to be receding:

    IMG_0160.jpgIMG_0162.jpg

    The first year, my colony didn't do well and eventually absconded. Now this. What has happened??! Thanks in advance for any insight.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    246

    Default Re: Dead Hive - What happened?

    I'm not sure what happened to your bees. Possibly the cluster was too small to maintain adequate temperature. Maybe they just got stuck in one spot out of contact with food. Hard to say.

    On your secondary question, that looks like wired wax foundation, not plastic. Wax will not take much scraping.

    Sorry for your loss, it's never fun.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    fairfield,ohio
    Posts
    681

    Default Re: Dead Hive - What happened?

    First row of pics#3 from left. Classic sign of starvation, head first into comb.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Gladys, VA
    Posts
    91

    Default Re: Dead Hive - What happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by gunter62 View Post
    ...........Sorry for your loss, it's never fun.
    Don't have an answer for what happened to your hive but the weather has been quite harsh.
    ----
    Joe

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Amherst Virginia USA
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Dead Hive - What happened?

    soilei Im your neighbor in Amherst county!
    I love my honey bees!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Nelson County, Virginia
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Dead Hive - What happened?

    Hello Amherst! Nice to meet a local.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Dead Hive - What happened?

    maybe queenless going into winter? doesn't look like a lot of bees!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,577

    Default Re: Dead Hive - What happened?

    You had too small a cluster and they froze in the sudden temperature drop. If there was any brood in there, that kept them from moving to more honey.

    Don't scrape anything, you can use it as is for you next package of bees.

    Look for tiny white specks in the brood cells, if present you had too many mites in the fall and the bees died off very quickly in the winter, hence the small cluster.

    You have mice in the hive, likely -- I think I saw chewed comb.

    I don't see any pollen either, if there is none, they died from protein deficiency. Check for adequate pollen stores in August and early September, if they don't have a large supply, feed protein patties.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    997

    Default Re: Dead Hive - What happened?

    Head first into comb -- starvation, unable to move to stores.

    These are all consistent with a mouse in the hive:
    -- Headless bees on the bottom board
    -- Wax chewings
    -- Holes in comb and exposed honey with missing capping.

    Did you have a mouse guard or other restriction on the hive?

    Why the hive was weak enough to allow the mouse to establish, and why the winter cluster was unable to maintain heat cannot be determined from the images you posted.

    Reasons are many -- but the common one is high Varroa count in the fall.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Nelson County, Virginia
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Dead Hive - What happened?

    i appreciate all of the replies.

    No mouse guard. I have one, but neglected to put it in.

    Didn't notice any brood, so will have to go back and look, weather permitting.

    I did see pollen on some of the frames, but not a lot.

    Lesson learned - the hard way.

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