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hadnt seen much activity around the hives dispite sunny 50 deg day a few days ago....

so this morning had a sunny 45 deg day and the west hive was out buzzin around.... nothing at the east hive.

cracked the seam at the top box to find..... dead bees... :( top super which was full of honey was light as a box of foundation.

didnt have time for a full inspection, suppose ill have to get around to that.

cracked the west hive (honey super) still felt heavy so i still have hope... perhaps some granulated sugar cant hurt.
 

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If you think you're going to need dry sugar later, take advantage of warmer temps and get it in there now. I sometimes fall into the "I'll do it on the weekend" mistake and then the weekend doesn't let me for whatever reason...like the weather got too cold!
 

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Schmism,Sorry for your loss. Was this a weak colony going into winter? I see similar losses every year.I cleaned up one loss yesterday,it had about 50 lbs. of honey and a small double hand full of bees head first in cells around and covering a 2 inch patch of drone brood. I didn't find the queen which tells me they probably were queenless and didn't build up a winter brood and froze to death. What always seems odd is,there is capped honey within 2 inches of the cluster and they starve to death? In your case, i would look at the frames that were full of honey and see if the caps were torn and ragged looking, could be it was a weak colony and robbed out. There are many other things that could have happened also. Jack
 

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It took me quite a few years to realize that hives that I thought starved probably died from some other cause and then were robbed out. I would see activity in the dying hive thinking that they were fine, but later find dead bees and no honey.

The robbing bees still make more of a mess of the comb, but not like summer robbing. I started noticing bees leaving from one hive and flying directly to the next hive. That is what made me realize that they may not have starved. Robbing with no defenders doesn't look anything like robbing in summer.

At this time of year my bees will have only made a small dent in honey stores. After winter solstice the honey usage will accelerate and February-April are critical. This is all location dependent as are most things in beekeeping.

(Looks like Jack and I were typing the same idea at the same time)
 

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What always seems odd is,there is capped honey within 2 inches of the cluster and they starve to death?
Russian stock is known for closing the gap that you wrote about!
Ernie
 

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If the cluster is small, numbers are low, they will not close the gap - Russian or any other kind. . .
(a plus for Russians is their frugality)

If they can not generate enough heat, within the cluster, to move over, they will perish, no matter how much honey there is around them.
Small clusters seldom have enough life in them to move sideways, never do they move down.
The only thing that can save them is food over their head.
They naturally move up - cause up is where the warmth is.
 
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