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I went to put a fondant patty on my hive and found a the majority of the girls dead. They were mainly on the bottom board or on the perimeter of the boxes. There were a handful of live bees. I didn't go through hive thoroughly, but it did look like there was some moldy areas around some clusters of dead bees around the perimeter. They looked good going into winter - lots of honey, did a mite treatment in August. Any ideas?
Condensation? The winter weather has been all over the place in Eastern PA - cold, rainy, a bit of snow, today in the mid 60s.
dead bees (2).jpg dead bees (1).jpg
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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A single treatment for mites in mid summer? No follow up treatments? Yikes! I just took a closer look at the pictures. Heartbreaking to see so many dead.
 

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What kind of mite treatment?
When you say 'lots of honey'...do you mean going into winter or now?
My best guess is mites or starvation or some combination.
 

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What kind of mite treatment?
When you say 'lots of honey'...do you mean going into winter or now?
My best guess is mites or starvation or some combination.
Used MAQS for the mite treatment and left 2 full mediums full of honey on it (8 frames). They look like they haven't been touched - still full.
 

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Not saying its mites, but I treated with Formic in August also. I had to do a OAV series to knock them back down in October which I don't always have to do. So it is quite possible the MAQS was successful but they got re infested in the fall which is prime time for mite pop to increase and for your hive to rob other hives. I would do an alcohol wash on the bees and inspect the brood frames for mite frass which will look like little white flecks in the cells, usually on the upper side. J
 

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A photo of a pile of dead bees does not tell us much more than that it's a pile of dead bees.

Would be good if you could post some high resolution shots of the comb especially if there is any dead brood, get some high res shots of any brood.

However the useful thing you have shared is that there is still a lot of untouched honey in the hive. A healthy hive with the amount of bees in it shown, would have been able to access the honey. So it is likely the hive suffered from some ailment that weakened the bees.
 

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Agree with the food issue. In my own experience, crashed colonies that were sitting on good stores were badly impacted by Varroa OR in a few cases, suffered through a prolonged cold snap that didn't allow them to get to their stores. In one case, I had a severe and unrealized moisture problem that did them in.
 

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I wondered about the moisture issue, but the dead bees don't appear like they were soggy at some stage. Hard to tell for sure though.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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So far, I have only had three instances where the hive died AND the dead bees remained in the hive. The most recent was last spring when I allowed a nuc to starve. Diagnosis was easy, all the comb was empty except for the dead bees. One other instance occurred three years ago before I started treating. In this case, the bees perished due to BPV and cold temps. When I found this hive dying I had no idea what was happening and brought the bottom board with all the bees, live and dead, inside the house to warm up. None of the bees were able to fly and many could not walk. Within two days, all were dead. This is what led me to learn a little about bee viruses, the varroa mite, and to start treating. The third colony to die happened that same year. Already weakened from varroa, this nuc colony was to small to survive when our temps here dropped to -8°F and the bees froze.
 
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