I live in North West Connecticut.
I inherited two be hives on September 1st 2020.
The man who gave them to me said they were originally Italian and Russian bees and they might be a cross breed of the two now.
He had them for five years before he gave them to me.
I have been watching bee videos, researching, and reading everything I can get my hands on about bees.
They seemed very healthy going into the winter.
I did a mite check on September 24th and put in the recommended dose of Mite Away Quick Strips for a two week treatment.
There was basically no honey in the hive at all.
I fed them with ½ gallon sugar water BEFORE the treatment and 1 ½ gallons after the treatment until the winter started to freeze everything up.
The treatment directions specifically say not to feed the bees while treating.
After feeding, the hives were fairly heavy and seemed pretty well stocked with winter food.
I even put some raw sugar in the top brood box for them to much on in case they ran out.
Some did at times and some didn’t because I checked on them every so often.
I understand that mites can wipe out a hive during the winter.
I know that moisture can kill bees in the winter too.
I saw that some people vent the hive by elevating it slightly by using a stick slightly.
I did this. I elevated the lids of my hives about 1/8 inch so moisture had a chance to escape out of the top.
I checked them all throughout the winter.
They seemed fine.
We had a week of very cold weather in mid February.
It maybe got down to the teens or single digits for a few days.
To my understanding... the colder it gets, the more reserves or food the bees will consume because the more energy they will need to keep warm thus the more moisture is produced working in a condition with the cold weather causing more moisture.
Am I correct on this?
I went to check the hives on February 24th and one hive was completely dead.
Could it be mites?
I didn’t see any.
Could it be lack of food for the winter?
Could it be moisture?
Could it be something else?
I also have come to the understanding that if the queen is weak, she will produce ineffective and genetically weak and inferior workers, and this can possibly be analyzed by brood laying patterns and comb construction and also bee behavior.
Could this be the problem?
This hive did display some more hostile behavior in the beginning of the winter. More so than the other hive.
I also have come to the understanding that winter bees are different than summer bees and if they are too not healthy, the hive will suffer.
I’d like to find out what killed this hive.
Can someone help me out with this so I don’t run into this problem again or can at least combat it?
I’m attaching is a link to some photos to my of what the hive looked like when I took it all apart.
I photographed as much as I could and even every single frame front and back.
As you can see, there is a small cluster in the middle and a big bunch towards the front of the hive that fell on the bottom.
I understand it’s difficult to tell what happened from a few photos but if there is anyway anyone has any idea as to what happened here, can you please share you insight.
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We also had a 70 degree the other day and the other hive it really super alive.
Here is a video of that.
If someone knows where they get the pollen, please tell me because there are absolutely no leaves, buds, or flowers anywhere. It’s technically still winter. I heard they get the pollen from sap.
Is this true?
Can anyone tell what species they are?
Russian, Italian or some kind of genetic combo?