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We had some warm days in February after a nasty cold snap, and I went out to watch the bees taking flights. Some bees were carrying in pollen, and I thought, "what in the world could be pollinating right after it was below zero?" A closer look showed that what the bees were carrying in was exactly the same color as the fireplace ashes I'd put around the hive as ant deterrent - and the bees were going down and treating the ashes as if it were pollen! I opened the hive and put a pollen patty on (they still had plenty of dry sugar left from winter feeding), but a week later there was no activity at all at the hive entrance, and a quick peek inside showed that the hive had suddenly died out (the numbers had been, I thought, quite strong the week before). Could the bees have poisoned themselves by eating ashes? Or might there not be any connection?
 

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Santa Cruz, CA
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If it was clean wood ash from clean wood I couldn't really see that being their demise. If it was mixed with burned plastic or other things then I certainly could.

Bummer you lost them though - it's never fun having to go through all the things in your head that may have knocked them down.
 

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Small Cell Nucs
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Yipes! You would like to think that they wouldnt eat anything that could harm them, but thats not always the case. Sorry to hear you lost a hive.
 

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take a picture of the frames with the dead cluster, and BB and post
 

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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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IMO was a coincidence.

likely a gray pollen and likely died of something else.

but anything is possible.

GG
 

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If it's still cold the bees might not be dead. My first experience with this happened this week. I have 1/8 inch hardware cloth on the entrances of my splits so I closed them and brought them in the garage during this cold snap. A couple were fine but one had no movement. I opened the hive and ALL of the bees, including the queen, were totally lifeless and cold. I gently moved them around with my hand and again they were cold and lifeless. I laid the frame on the counter and was going to throw them out later but to my surprise a little later they came back to life. I noticed some movement about 30 mins later and sure enough the entire cluster and queen were fine. As soon as I saw movement I put the frame back in the hive and they are fine. Don't give up on them till it warms up. You never know. It may just be torpor.
 

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If it's still cold the bees might not be dead. My first experience with this happened this week. I have 1/8 inch hardware cloth on the entrances of my splits so I closed them and brought them in the garage during this cold snap. A couple were fine but one had no movement. I opened the hive and ALL of the bees, including the queen, were totally lifeless and cold. I gently moved them around with my hand and again they were cold and lifeless. I laid the frame on the counter and was going to throw them out later but to my surprise a little later they came back to life. I noticed some movement about 30 mins later and sure enough the entire cluster and queen were fine. As soon as I saw movement I put the frame back in the hive and they are fine. Don't give up on them till it warms up. You never know. It may just be torpor.
Bees are not dead until they are warm and not moving. I have done something similar where I scrapped out the bottoms, and then put them in an inside trashcan. I had to catch about 20 bees that were spread thruout the house after they came back to life.
 

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OP isn't providing us with enough information. Are the bees dead on the bottom board Or did they all fly out of the hive?
 
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