I joined mostly because I might need help. I am a second attempt first year beekeeper in the Lincoln, Nebraska area. I have two hives that have done amazingly well this year. I have run medium 8 frames for both my brood boxes and, due to how well they have done, even a few supers this summer. I performed monthly sugar roll tests and the mite load was 1/2 to 1% all year until two weeks ago where it jumped significantly, I didn't finish the count but it was closer to 5 or 6%. I had been running 2 brood boxes but removed the queen excluder and left a third box on top that was mostly full of honey and will remain a brood box next year. I began a treatment with apivir per the instructions given to me by my local bee supply store.
At the stores advice I also added a spacer at the top and put on a Lanstroth style top instead of the warre quilt box I have used.
Here is my concern, I got back this morning from a business trip and checked on the bees. both hives have some dead bees in front of them. the one I have considered the healthier hive has a reasonable amount, not a major change. The hive that has been the weaker of the two (but still very active and healthy, just compared to the other hive) has a HUGE pile of dead bees but the coming and going seems normal except the bees are preventing drones from entering and I saw a couple (I think) drones drug out of the hive. I can't tell for sure if all the dead bees are drones but it is a LOT of dead bees. In reading, I am aware that pushing out drones is normal fall behavior but is actively killing drones normal behavior and is there a way to determine if all the dead bees were drones? It is a deep, thick pile. I am wondering if there is something else I should be doing.