I opened my bee hive to check on them before I wrap the hive for winter. Most of the honey is gone and there is a pile of dead bees in the bottom. The new ( since early september) comb is darks brown and uneven. There are adult dead bees face first in the combs. I have tried to contact our county ag agent but he doesn't respond. Help!!!
I am not an expert, but I have been raising honey bees for about 15 years. From what you discribe, (honey gone and bees head first in cells are dead), it sounds like your bees starved to death. Sorry to hear that. Even thought it is not the middle of winter they seem to have starved.
What first comes to mind, is the new GMO Pesticide from Monsanto/Round-Up, it appears there's a lot of research about a new Herbicide that is killing a lot of Honeybees in the US, especially on the East Coast. There are some links I'll try to find some for you.
I think BEES4ME is correct in diagnosing your problem: no honey stores and dead bees with their heads buried in the cells are the hallmarks of starvation. If it was a small colony, a late swarm, a bad nectar flow year (like here), or if too much honey was taken from the hive, there may have been few or no stores for them to feed on. Did you check them in August or September for honey stores? Here in western Washington, the honey flow ends rather early and, if low or honey stores OR if too much honey is harvested, you must start feeding in August and finish feeding by mid-Sepetember (when they cluster) to provide them with winter food.
Sorry to hear about you loosing the hive. So far I have had good luck with wintering my hives. All are doing well and hives seem to be beginning to build up a little already. I even have a hive in a log that I salvaged when the land owner cut down the tree in November 2011. I will cut it open and put the bees in a regular hive once it warms up enought to do so safely. For the last three to four weeks they have been bring in loads of goldenrod pollen. It has been a mild winter here in southern Louisiana and the lowest temp has been about 30 degrees for a very short time. I hope you do better with your bees this spring.
This message was edited Jan 23, 2012 5:59 PM