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Discussion Starter #1
I cant remember seeing this discussed. Has anyone viewed a colony that died of suffocation?

I went through one of my double deeps that may have gone that way. Strong hive untill about 3 weeks ago; had been lots of bees on top feed all winter. Started OA in August and did about 4 series of treatments through Sept. and Oct. and one singel after cold weather in November. Sticky boards showed only a couple of mites a week. Dead bees showed no mites in an alcohol wash.

Colony gross weight was 125 lbs at the end of Oct. and there was lots of honey left. There were hardly any bees head first in comb and I could not see where a small cluster had made their last stand. There were some caught here and there between combs but the majority were on the bottom board. There definitely had been no moisture dripping on the cluster. There were no cells with capped brood but I dont think these Carni type bees in my cllmate would have started to brood up anyways.

I had been expecting the possibility of EFB returning but with no brood to be seen that did not appear the culprit.

What makes me think suffocation a possibility was that a monstrous amount of snow had resulted in the lower entrance being in a pit that was hard to keep shoveled out and the entrance reducer cleared of bees. That is the last of my experiment with bottom entrance only. I am now satisfied that top entrance is not necessary to take care of moisture if the bottom is open and the hive well insulated.

Dead bee accumulation and being blocked by snow makes bottom entrance only a no go for the future. I see that Roland uses an empty bottom box under his single deeps and a bottom entrance only and the Enjambres uses a 3" spacer box with an entrance under her brood boxes that would take care of dropped bees.

I think these are the first bees I have likely killed out of sheer stupidity. I welcome anyones thoughts about what a person would expect to see on examining such a deadout.
 

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I think these are the first bees I have likely killed out of sheer stupidity.
I can't really reply to any of your questions but I would like to say if this is the first you've lost from dumb stuff.....you are a much smarter beekeeper than I am.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Give me time! I just haven't been at it as long and I had the benefit of more than a little good advice here.
 

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I had one last year that was an oddity... Strong Nuc, I should've put them in a bigger box.... bearded all day and still bees outside at 2am... next morning looked ok, but I noticed some dead bees on the landing board... 2/3 had died and blocked the entrance sometime after 2am...... Never could explain why other than they suffocated themselves somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would rather know it was suffocation and not be wondering if it was something exotic. I dont think that will happen to me again but probably get caught on something else.
The absence of a dead cluster with bees head into cells was a bit different. Didn't dwindle away, just dropped.

The snow is finally melting away from the hives. The rest of the hives do not seem to be dropping many more bees and hope to be able to do a bit of an inspection soon. I sure hope I find healthy brood and dont see this again this season.

Thanks
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Frank, is it possible that they starved on brood? The nuc I lost last week was looking good on Sunday but was dead on Wednesday. They simply starved. Most of the dead were on the bottom board in a huge pile, only a hundred or so head first in the cells. Temps were not that cold, mid 30s.
 

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Frank, is it possible that they starved on brood? The nuc I lost last week was looking good on Sunday but was dead on Wednesday. They simply starved. Most of the dead were on the bottom board in a huge pile, only a hundred or so head first in the cells. Temps were not that cold, mid 30s.
I thought of that very real possibility but saw no sign of brood at any stage or the circle of bees with their heads in. I thought they should not have fallen to the floor if they froze on brood. I dont think they have started to brood up yet as we have not had any temperatures much above freezing yet except for a few peaks mid day.

I will know more when I can get a look at what stage the survivors are at; whether they are brooding up or not. They seem to be Carni habits; mid June before I see 6 frames of capped brood and the start of queen cells.

Edit; My son lost some hives the way you describe and quite a few more with some chilled brood. It is amazing that it can happen in three or four days! His bees are far more Italian and seem a bit more prone to it happening.
 
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