Hi all, I have a small 2-hive apiary on a NYC rooftop. Now one hive.
The hive that didn't make it was a first-year Russian hive; it started in April as a package. I have my own theories, but I would love to hear older and wiser voices on this. Unlike my other hive (2nd year italian), I did not treat the russians for mites, nor did I feed them sugar (they went into the winter with three mediums + a full super of honey on top).
Some observations (pictures below):
A too-small cluster of bees at the top, across three frames. They’ve been dead a while, as mold has started to grow on them.
The bees are at the top of the frame and other bees died with their heads inside cells. Signs of starvation.
There was a lot of honey left; 5 full frames and many partial frames. Some of it on the very frames the bees died on.
The top of the frames near the final massacre are covered in bee poop.Much of the honey that was left is dark honey from fall.
Scattered bees were dead throughout the hive. They were frozen like Pompeii. There were even some dead newborn bees halfway emerging from the comb.
Honey and pollen stores were plentiful, though not in the area immediately surrounding the bees. There was honey at the ends of the frames they were on, as well as full frames two frames over.
Scattered (dead) brood across a very large brood nest area, stretching across many frames. This seems weird.
One frame had uncapped water or nectar.
I did not notice any odd smells, nor sunken or discolored cappings. I broke open some of the cappings and found somewhat jelly-like proto-bees inside. Not stringy or ropy.
I saw no evidence of wax moth or hive beetles. No cocoons or slime tracks (beetles are rare here anyway, I assume. Cold and full of concrete).
I did not see any mites on bees, though I’m bad at spotting these things (and I don’t know if they’d stick around on an old kill like this).
Unlike the surviving hive, the russians did not have a top vent. We've had a lot of precipitation in the last few weeks. The screened bottom board is open, there's just concrete + hive detritus underneath the hive. The hive is on a slight incline, so water doesn't pool under it. The hive is not insulated, though it has not been a cold winter (for NYC).
I much appreciate the attention and I'll do better next time.