3rd year, very bad over wintering. Went into last fall with 9 hives. Only two appear to have made it. One strong, one not so much.
The nine hives broke down like this.
Four new packages
One swarm catch
Two splits, from the first year.
Two original packages from the first year.
Of the two that survived one was one of the splits which I actually re-queened with a Beeweaver queen and one was a carnie which raised it's own queen from the original 1st year package.
I went thru all of the hives today and found two conditions. Either there were simply no bees to speak of in the entire hive or there was what seemed to be a relatively healthy cluster. In every hive that died except for one there appeared to be plenty of both pollen and honey. Several boxes were still very difficult to pick up they were so full of honey.
I did not see any obvious signs of problems. No disease I could see in the brood or obvious buildup of mites, granted I'm still a complete novice when figuring out disease. Almost all hives that died out had small amounts of brood and the cells looked fairly normal. Bottom board slide outs were all relatively clean and did not show large amounts of mites. No signs of mold, high humidity etc. The odd cases where the ones where there were literally only a handful of bees, less then a hundred in a couple cases.
I now face two problems. First figuring out what the problem is and how to avoid it next time around and two...what the heck do I do with all the equipment, honey, frames etc.
Don't want them eaten up by wax moths and I don't have enough surviving hives or packages coming in to use all the left overs....or a freezer big enough to hold 180 frames plus all the other honey supers in the shed :-)