Today in the icy weather I opened up the dead hive to see what the situation appeared to be. There were a pile of dead bees on the slatted rack landing area. There were tons of dead bees on the screened bottom board. In a hive that has starved, generally the bees all die together with their heads down in the last cells where honey was found.
This hive died with two full boxes of stored syrup. There were about 30 bees head down in a frame but the rest were dead all over the hive. Most of the bodies are on the slatted rack and screened bottom board.
If you look carefully at these pictures, you'll see lots of dead hive beetles in with the bees. The SHBs can't stay alive without the heat from the bees.
You'll also see that most of the dead bees have their proboscis (their tongue) sticking out. Bees do this in starvation, but seeing them on the bottom board with their tongues out seems strange to me. Also a number of these bees have varroa mites on their bodies. I don't know if they are dead from a varroa vectored problem or from starvation or did they freeze to death?
Note: beneath the screened bottom board is the tray from the Freeman beetle trap - lots of dead beetles there too. However the hive is not destroyed by the beetle....there are just a lot of bodies around.
I'd be interested in any theories anyone would like to offer.
I sifted through the bodies and did not find a queen. That doesn't mean she wasn't there - I just didn't find her. Although this hive may have died because they were queenless. There are a lot of dead bees between the frames front edge and the front wall of the hive box and I didn't go through those.
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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.
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