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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today it was warm enough for the bees to be flying--mid 50s. Three weeks ago my hives were all very active, but today no activity. I opened them up and all three were dead. Dead bees on the bottom. A cluster of dead bees on empty comb in each hive, with other bees buried head head-first into cells. They were on empty comb, with lots of honey just a few inches away. I guess it was too cold for them to move the cluster. There was some brood, but not a lot.

In one hive I found two bees that looked like this. One was on the inner cover, another on top of one of the frames. They appeared to be covered in some kind of webbing. I just found these in one hive. Does anyone have any idea what this is, and would it effect reusing this equipment? These were adult bees, not ones that were still in brood.

 

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They might be dead. I would even say they are probably dead. But I don't write them off until they are warm and dead. Cold bees often appear dead when they are not.
I just learned this, Michael, this year. It made me wonder how many bees I had killed when I thought they were dead. Sometimes I'll take a "dead" bee, cup it in my hand and warm it with my breath. I've been amazed - nearly all have come around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've experienced the cold but not dead bees, and am careful not to assume. But it was in the upper 50s and sunny, And these were just plain dead. I've seen these bees out flying when it was 44F. I think the spider just took advantage of the hive dying out. If it had been a live hive, the bees would have either chased the spider out or at least carried off the dead bee. It's been warm a couple of days now (in the 60s), and tomorrow will be the last warm day for awhile. If that doesn't warm them up, nothing will.
 

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Sorry for the loss, homesteader. I know that's heartbreaking. :(
 
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