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Two weeks ago this hive was flying in 23 degree temps. Today.... dead. This was their second winter.
This is what I found after I removed the 3/4 insulation board from around the hive and above the inner cover.
I opened the hive to find all the dry sugar I gave them was gone from the top bars. I figured they starved out. As I progressed down into the top medium super, I found roughly 20# of capped honey and a good sized cluster just to the side of the honey.
The second super had more bees along with pollen and some capped honey. There was also 1/4" of frost on the inside rear of the top two supers.
The bottom board had about 1/2" thick of bees. All the bees were dry.
Yesterday it got to -8 degrees here.
There is unhindered ventillation thoughout the hive. All of the other hives are still kicking with the same configuration.

View attachment 9165

It is the hive on the far left.
Any guesses as to why this hive perished?
 

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Sorry to hear that. I put more dry sugar on some hives the other day, good thing I did because a couple of them had eaten all their sugar that I had previously put on. It was too cold to keep the hive opened up long to take a better look at whether or not I could see any capped honey near the cluster.
 

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Did you check for varroa?
 

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I clicked your attachment 9165 and got the following message:

"Invalid Attachment specified. If you followed a valid link, please notify the administrator"
 

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I would send some of the bees for testing, usually when a hive flies at those lower temps its either trach. mites, or nosema.
 

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I would send some of the bees for testing, usually when a hive flies at those lower temps its either trach. mites, or nosema.
Although flying at low temps could be an indication of those issues, more than likely it was just some bees anxious to cleanse themselves on a nice sunny day, even though it was only 23 degrees. I see it year after year on bright sunny winter days with no wind and temps below freezing, especially if the bees have been confined without a flight for a long time. True, some of them don't make it back to the hive if they fly around too long, but most do. The bees benefit from the real feel temperature even more than we do I believe.
 

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Mine were out on Wednesday doing the same thing cleansing only to crash into the snow. There were about 150 to 200 dead bees out in front in the snow.Kinda made me sick watching them commit suicide.We have had temps below zero for the last month finally got a 25 degree day and this happens.
 

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Bees get puzzled by the brightness of the snow. Since they orientate and navigate by the sun, which is "up" for them, they flip upside down and crash.

You can produce this effect with other bright surfaces, too. Like this temporary cover, which was shiny and bright after a rainfall.



This works only after a few days with no flying. Bees get baited out of the hive by bright sun, take off and mistake the snow with the sun and drop down onto their back. If you collect those bees and warm them they are alive soon.

This is why some beekeepers put straw, sand, wood chips or wood ashes in front of the hives and onto the snow. Also a board that covers and shades the entrance keeps them inside and not getting baited out by bright sunshine.
 
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