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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to keep bees for 3 years now and this year turned out the same as the other 2 years, I lost the hive again. The first two years I used the langstroth hive but this year I used a deep horizontal. I opened it up this year and the bees we're all Dead but it didn't look like there were as many as there should be. Almost like they packed up and left. The Combs they made we're weird to say the least and the last two frames on the end weren't even drawn out. No honey was left in the comes that were there either.

I need some help here. What do you all think is the problem? If you need any other info let me know. Thanks.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hard to tell from the picture, but the bottom board looks like it is covered in dead mites, in addition to the not so many dead bees. So, did you treat and with what? Was there any food left in the hive at all? Syrup, honey, pollen, anything? Thinking numbers are small due to mites and the remaining bees starved and or froze to death.
 

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I am super glad you said you wanted help because there are folks that come on here and when you offer them help, they get defensive and do not listen to people offering help. A couple observations: We are all giving our best guess based on limited information. With that said, the most common reasons for losing a hive at this time of year is mites and starvation. Based on what you said and your pics, it looks that way too. I would add that it seems like you do not inspect your hive very often. That can lead to the same result. For example, you should not be surprised by that additional overlay of comb. They did not make that during the winter. Also, your combs are very dark. This is not necessarily the cause of death, but it leads me to believe you bought the hive because they should not be that dark so soon.
So, what did you do to monitor mites and what did you do to treat?
In the Fall, how did you determine how much stores they should have for winter and what did you do if they were light?
This isn't meant as a test. Just trying to help forum members narrow down what might be going on. If you keep an open mind, answer questions honestly and don't get defensive, you will achieve success. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks everyone for the help!

So I can't rule out mites because I didn't treat for them as I honestly did not expect for mites to ruin a have within a year. I looked at the remains in the bottom of the box and did not see any red bugs but I also don't know if more retain their color after death. For the mites a friend of mine recommended an all natural remedy that I will get the info on and start treatment for the new hive I buy.

You are correct. I did but the hive this year. The black comb you saw was from a have 2 years ago. I didn't clean it because I was under the impression that it would be helpful to the new hive to have an already drawn out frame. I learned too late that this only applied fresh (1 year or so) comb that's light in color. The black is bad. That's my bad.

As to the double comb... What causes them to form a comb like that. I've never seen that before.

I did not take any honey this bee season so they should have had plenty yet they did not draw out the frames on the end were the honey normally goes. I was wandering what causes that. If it's something I'm doing wrong them that's something I can fix.

I got into the horizontal hives because my back will not allow me to lift the langstroth supers or deeps and I wanted to be a bit more natural instead of having to moved deeps around etc. Any tips would be most welcome. I finished reading natural beekeeping 101 from a man who loves in Russia. Extremely helpful, unfortunately the bees suffered from my negligence... And so did my wallet.

EDIT: just read a bit of the necropsy link and I dont think I saw any varroa mites. In fact I remember about a month ago or so we had a beautiful 60 day and there were many bees flying around. I thought they were just doing there spring flight to relieve there poor bladders. I'm wondering if they absconded. Looking at the frames today there weren't any larvae. Maybe the queen died?

Also I thought maybe about moister but when I cleaned out the bees it wasn't moist very much nor was there any mildew/mold or maggets.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Mites can kill two way. First and most obvious is in the diseases and viruses they vector, like DWV and BPV. The more insideous way is that they deplete the fat bodies in ths bees, weakening them and reducing their lifespan. In this case, bees of foraging age die off before much foraging is done, causing the hive to not store sufficient honey. Then, the winter bees are short-lived and gradually the number of bees in the hive decreases until the hive cannot stay warm when the temperature drops. The remaining bees all perish at once.
 

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"As to the double comb... What causes them to form a comb like that. I've never seen that before.
I did not take any honey this bee season so they should have had plenty yet they did not draw out the frames on the end were the honey normally goes. I was wandering what causes that. If it's something I'm doing wrong them that's something I can fix."

You can't take bees that have been treated and expect them to survive without treatments or "natural remedies". Comb that is built "irregular" is usually due to incorrect bee space or one frame being not drawn out straight or all the way from the plastic, making the next wonky. You cant assume that just because you didn't take any honey they should have had plenty, a lot of this depends on nectar flows and if you were feeding them. If not taking honey, feeding ensures that they draw out combs on the ends and store "feed" in the combs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks! I'm going to take a deeper look at the way the hive is set up and revamp the way I do things. Thanks again everyone for the helpful tips.
 
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