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Like many others I had 3 hives die on me this winter. It was the mildest winter in 5 years. I'm questioning why they died as I clean out the hives. I got new packages coming in 2 weeks. When I prepared them for winter I bought bee cozys for all the hives and a few items like quilt boxes. They were alive 3 weeks ago. I seen them flying. Then the last time I walked over to the hives to look I didnt see any bees out. It was a nice 50 to 60 deg day. So I looked. All dead. I finally came out clean them . The bees ate honey on 1 half of the frame from the bottom box up to the top. There was still a good amout of fondant left. The side the bees didnt eat of the frame. Most were full of honey. I'd say when I pull frames out a lot of bees were head first in the comb then bees on top. I get to the last 10 frame and pull the cozy off and use all these dead bees the piled up between the cozy and wood. To me it looks like mass panic and they tried to come out all at once and died there. You can see in the pics what I mean. I never seen this before. Have you? Does any one think that pile is saying something or no?
 

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Varroa is my go to response. I lost 3 this winter and even though I try to treat varroa I look there first for my own problems finding holes in my schedule. Read 'Anatomy of a Mite Crash', it's pinned to the top of Bee Forum and a must read for anyone keeping bees.
 

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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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Like many others I had 3 hives die on me this winter. It was the mildest winter in 5 years. I'm questioning why they died as I clean out the hives. I got new packages coming in 2 weeks. When I prepared them for winter I bought bee cozys for all the hives and a few items like quilt boxes. They were alive 3 weeks ago. I seen them flying. Then the last time I walked over to the hives to look I didnt see any bees out. It was a nice 50 to 60 deg day. So I looked. All dead. I finally came out clean them . The bees ate honey on 1 half of the frame from the bottom box up to the top. There was still a good amout of fondant left. The side the bees didnt eat of the frame. Most were full of honey. I'd say when I pull frames out a lot of bees were head first in the comb then bees on top. I get to the last 10 frame and pull the cozy off and use all these dead bees the piled up between the cozy and wood. To me it looks like mass panic and they tried to come out all at once and died there. You can see in the pics what I mean. I never seen this before. Have you? Does any one think that pile is saying something or no?
Hi Billboard, A couple questions, What was the Appx weight of the deep, IE about how much honey was left. Did you winter in 1 deep. And the reason I replied in the first place, why do you winter with 9 frames in a 10 frame box? As you intend to hive packages in this hive I would recommend cleaning the frame up a bit, I scrape the wood frame 3 non comb sides, be sure to scrape where the frames touch so you can get 10 frames back in the box. Visualize how the cluster size would respond to "more" frames in the box, and it will help. Start with 1 frame in the box with bees around it, mathematically estimate the surface of the comb the bees can cover. Now as you add frames all the way to 11 (some folks trim the edges to allow closer frame spacing) re do the math every time. As you add comb, the bees have more access to comb surface some of which holds pollen or honey, so it is better to have more comb covered by the bees, not benefit to have less. If you do not have a late season mite count you would need to evaluate this area.
GG
 

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Maybe they went into the winter with a low ratio of the so called "fat winter bees" and many of them timed out before being able to start brooding up. That is not a large number of bees to see in a March dead out. Once they get below a critical mass the writing is on the wall. Bees head first in cells are there to pump heat into the comb. Having the frames spread hurts their game in the winter. I would suggest doing an alcohol wash on the dead bees.
 
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