Noticed the activity on one of my hives was dwindling last weekend and decided to do a quick inspection. I found 4 medium frames of live bees, some open and capped brood on those frames, and many many frames of dead bees. Looks to me like they got caught in a cold snap away from the honey, heads in cells, butts sticking out. There are still many frames of honey in the hive but the frames in which the dead bees are located seem to be nearly empty. Note the white speckles on the frames are granulated sugar from an attempted mountain camp.
Any comments as to what may have happened? Other hives are very strong and this was appears to have been strong before the cold spell. Mite count was low going into winter. I'd love a few opinions on what may have happened and if it's preventable again
My plan is to install a 4# package I have on order in the box above this with a sheet of newspaper between them, one small slit in the newspaper and spray the package with HBH to mask the difference in smells. Keep the existing queen and try to give them a boost with the package. Any thoughts on this method? This of course depends on the hive making it another 2 weeks, and with lows in the high 20's they may not.