i have mentioned elsewhere on the forum that i had a hive that was for a practical purposes gone.
i discovered it at my out yard a few weeks ago. i noticed that even though there was good activity at the entrance, (no obvious robbing), it was feather light to the heft.
i brought it home so i could keep an eye on it, and reduced the entrance to just one bee. the other bees in the yard became interested in this hive, but i think i kept any full scale robbing from happening.
i found the queen a few days later, but the cluster was only 1-2 frames. there were some capped and uncapped stores. more and more dead bees kept accumulating in front of the hive.
back in mid september, this hive had decent stores and a decent brood pattern. they were foraging as agressively as the rest of the hives, and looked to be in good shape.
by late october, they had become light, so i moved them home.
as of today, the queen was still there, along with just a handful of bees.
i managed to gather about 150 of them, including the queen, and put them in an alcohol wash. i ended up with at least 150 mites if not more. fair to say varroa was a factor.
i also noticed a lot of white specks on the upper side of nearly every brood cell, which i understand to be pathognomonic of varroa.
for good measure, i've got about 40 more bees in the freezer. i want to see if there was nosema there as well.
the history of this hive is:
walk away split from an 8 frame nuc.
successful e queen one month post split
slower build up and wax drawn than its cohorts
very light by mid fall.
no treatments or feeding all season.