My friend started a hive about a year ago last spring. Everything has been going well until the last three weeks. We now see a 'ton" of dead bees near the hive. He had moved the hive 4 weeks ago, moved it to a somewhat sunnier place maybe 6' from the original position. Everything looked fine.
I read in an earlier thread about "robber bees". If that is a possible answer, how can you tell a robber bee from the bees original to the hive?
I'm new to this blog and have no idea of how many bee keepers respond to inquiries ... I'm also a beginner and live in a completely different climate ... therefore I'm not sure I can offer much advise. What kind of pollen do you have in California in December? If you have little or no pollen available, your hive should go into winter mode ... the queen lays almost no eggs ... the hive drops in size to about 10 -15,000 and it should be normal to find lots of dead bees. We are not inspecting hives October through March as the temperature is too low to open them. Here we have to wait April to see if the hive survived the winter. If we see bees fly out on a sunny spring day ... chances are the hive is OK. Do you see bees leaving the hive all winter long?