Yes it's been a rough week for Pooh Bear; the second year hobby beekeeper. This week he discovered that he lost both his hives. What can I say - I am gutted.
After treating the hives in August September with OAV and ensuring that they had ample stores - they did. I pretty much left them alone for the last 4 weeks and didn't do any inspections. They seemed all set up for winter so I left them alone to propolize, winterize etc. Yesterday noticing a lack of activity at the entrance (no guard bees) I found one hive completely empty of bees and honey. Plenty of pollen stores, no signs of any brood disease but no bees just yellow jackets and the odd damage from SHBs that had infiltrated. All of the honey had been raised and there were signs of robbing. There was still some capped brood, some partially open, some with bees with tongues sticking out. Couldnt really tell if there was mite poop on stuff as it was getting dark when I was inspecting. I suspected it fell victim to a massive robbing from yellow jackets but now I'm not so sure. This hive got 3 OAV treatments
The other hive still has a handful of bees but they are surely gone. I can't see how they could prossibly keep themselves warm when the temp drops below freezing. It still has lots of stores and honey and has not been decimated like the other hive. What I did notice of the tray beneath the SBB was a huge amount of dead mites. A lot more than I ever killed with the OAV treatments of which this hive received 4. I didn't do any mite counts but with that many treatments I thought I was in good shape. I've done everything possible to keep these bees healthy to get thru the winter and now they are gone. I'm a beekeeper without bees and thata sad. Going to have to figure out what to do with all these frames and honey (can't use since treated) and eventually figure out what to do about getting some new bees. Donations are welcome
This weekend I'll do some more investigative work so if anyone has any tips on what I should look for I would appreciate it. Just as an FYI, both hives seemed fine last week at least from visual outside appearances