Its a classic image of bees that died in the winter. I wouldn't be so quick to jump on starvation as the answer. Looked like there were plenty of resources available. My guess would be more towards depopulation resulting from problems building earlier in the season. Depopulation will result in frozen and dead bees. You need population and food.
First,I would get any of those frames you don't intend to take the honey from into the freezer to
stop the wax moths.Usually,generally,with heavy emphasis on those two words,dead bees head first into the cells means starvation.Even though the winter has been mild you may have had several
straight days when the bees couldn't move to the food.I did not see any signs of foulbrood on those combs.Excellent pictures by the way.
A hive dying of starvation is a result of an underlying cause where there is food in a hive. Healthy bees will move to food in a cold snap, weak bees will not. Healthy bees will not see a large die off of the population in the later fall, weak, sick hives will.
Starvation, if food is present, is a result of a more serious problem... a sickness or disease or pest which was not noticed in the summer and fall.
Mike Palmer, Jim Lyon, Beemandan, and Astro have given you sound advice and these beekeepers have been in it longer than both of us, actually the rest of us on this thread put together. They know their stuff...take it to heart and learn from it
Re: picture 1260--what is that debris from? Can you tell? Also, I just had a very weak, small hive die last weekend. Could not find a queen, just a weak hive all summer and the cold weather we had and lack of stores (even though I was feeding them honey/pollen) wasn't enough to turn them around. I was looking up mite problems and came across a photo of varroa feces...not sure hw long they show up and not sure we could see them if they are in photos. sorry for your loss, it's an awful feeling....here's the link for varroa feces... http://buffalobeefarm.blogspot.com/2...1_archive.html
My hive looks the same way, I am in NC and we have not had but one cold night. There was plenty of honey in the brood and top super. What bees that were left, were heads 1st in the comb? Why? What should I do to get the hive ready for next year? Can I use this Hive?