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This is my second year beekeeping and this is my second year losing bees over winter. I checked my hive (I combined two hives in fall) after many months and guess what? I lost them again. There are plenty of honey. So I know food storage was not the reason. The hive does not smell bad either so it should not be foulbrood either. There are some mold on the frames. I think not having bees do that to the frames. If they are dead, I should see their bodies in the hive but I don't. I only see some. I should see more, much more. Where did they go? If it is Verrona, should I see more dead bodies? Did they fly away? I am losing my confidence in beekeeping.... not being able to help them over winter. How do I know if it is bees leaving or lost bees by other reasons?

By they way - I live in just outside Seattle. WA. I know it rains a lot but the winter is never too hard here.

Thank you !
 

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What were your mite counts going into winter? If the hives have stores left, I'd suspect high mite loads. The mites cause damaged brood that fails earlier in the winter instead of bees that can make it all the way through. Then the numbers dwindle until nothing is left. Finally there aren't enough of them left to keep the cluster alive and raise spring brood. Dying bees instinctively fly, which is why you only find the final few in the hive.

One possibility, anyhow. Perhaps someone can suggest others?

HTH

Rusty
 

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Did you have good ventilation? Did you treat for VARROA ?
Did you have a really cold winter?
You said you combined 2 hives where they both weak?
I would go with mite problems if you don't treat or have any body's .
 
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