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My step dad called. His hive that produced over 180 pounds of honey last year is dead. I actually had the hive tested in the fall for both V and T mites and nosema. It had some V-Mites but everything else was good. We hit them with apiguard per label to knock the mites down. Everything was good when we buttoned them up for winter. Last week he checked them and there was over 1/2 a 5 gallon bucket of dead bees. There was about 3 frames of honey in the bottom box and about 3 frames in the top against the walls. My first guess if they were not able to move to the honey frames. A commercial friend says they may have lost the queen...but that makes no sense at all. Is there ever just genetics that cause hives to not tolerate the cold?

My guess still is starvation....but there are not a lot of bees head first in the cells like i usually see.

JoeMcc
 

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Well., it's certainly claimed that different races of bees tolerate the cold better than others. Many beekeepers will agree that some types of bees cluster smaller, use less food, etc. I don't know what kind of bees you had but all popular bee types can tolerate some cold temps without significant mortality. If they were healthy as you said, it could have been cold starvation. Too cold to move and not enough food where they were. You're right in that you typically see a lot of bees with their heads in the cells but in the absence of any other obvious disease it would still be my guess. Sounds like a postmortem test may be in order!
 

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--. Last week he checked them and there was over 1/2 a 5 gallon bucket of dead bees.

There was about 3 frames of honey in the bottom box and about 3 frames in the top against the walls.

My first guess if they were not able to move to the honey frames. A commercial friend says they may have lost the queen...but that makes no sense at all.

My guess still is starvation....but there are not a lot of bees head first in the cells like i usually see.

JoeMcc
That is a lot of dead bees (for this time of the year around here) starvation would be my first guess but then your frind has a good one too.

We have all been there so clean all the dead bees out and put a split of package in it for this year.

Good luck
 
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