One dead hive, one still living...barely
Please help us! We opened up our hives yesterday (on a very mild day) to find one hive with very few bees and no stores (we've been feeding them for months though), and our second hive dead. Our dead hive looks just like the pictures dux posted on this thread: (except we have a langstroth style 8 frame hive. Like dux, there were some stores in this hive). We are sending off samples of our bees to Beltsville (actually, we're going to try dropping them off, as we live only a few miles away!) to check for any diseases.
Other pieces of information: both hives were moved on November 18. There was buzzing in both hives at that point and bees in and out of both on warm days after the move. The hive that died was the heavier of the two hives, and the stronger all year. They were both new hives, started from nucs in May 2012. For pictures of the hive through the summer, see our blog.
We have a few questions that we really hope you guys can help with:
1. Since people in dux's thread seem to think it was varroa mite collapse, should we treat the other hive for varroa? Is it too late in the year to do that? What's the best treatment since apistan seems to only work in some cases.
2. There were queen supercedure cells in both hives. Do you think there is a queen in the still-alive hive?
3. Since the still-alive hive has so few bees in it, should we consider trying to over-winter it as a nuc instead of a 8-frame hive?
4. In the dead hive, even the hive beetles were dead. Thoughts?