I just opened the hives today to feed and medicate for the spring, was greeted in one hive by a pretty grim picture. As I looked down through the gaps between frames, I noticed that between the three frames pictured, the gap was completely clogged with non-moving bodies. I lifted the hive body from the bottom board, and found a pile of (I'm estimating here) several thousand dead bees on the screen. There appears to be life still in the hive, just not in the area of these three frames.
In the center, I'm seeing a green-gray fungus or mold. I do not know if that is the cause of the problem, or grew on the dead bees due to lack of ventilation in the clogged space.
The dead bees are almost all facing toward the center of the pack. I do not know if this is significant.
I do not have time today for a full inspection, so I have not confirmed presence of a queen.
The scene here does not closely match any pictures or descriptions of diseases I've read about, but I would love to hear your ideas on what the problem could be.
(edit- more information to follow)
Two additional pieces of information. The area of carnage is accompanied by a slight foul decay type smell. The area where the dead bees are clustered also has a full grown bee in almost every cell, facing in, butt sticking out into the pack.
In addition to a diagnosis, what is the general consensus on the re-usability of these frames? They're cheap, should I trash these as a precaution?