In March, my mentors came over to check on some of their hives that they think had died. Three out of four of the hives on our property had died. One of the hives died because they were overrun with varroa mites.
Here we are beginning to open up the hives. The three hive that are in front are the dead colonies and the one that is farthest away is the alive colony.
Julie is cleaning up one of the dead hive. That colony died because the treatment Mike and Julie used to kill the varroa mites did not work well.
This clump of bees died while they were tightly clustered.
These dead bees fell to the bottom of this hive.
This is a close up picture of the cluster of dead bees. The tip of the hive tool is pointed at the queen.
These poor bees did not have a chance of surviving winter.
Here we are looking at the frames. Lots of honey remaining is a sign that the bees died due to varroa mite invasion.
Here we are packing up the equipment.
In this picture, you can see that some of the bees died before they could emerge from their cells. Some of the bees never even made it to the point where they could try to emerge. Some of the cells have tiny holes on the top. These holes are where the varroa mites crawled out of the cells to go attach themselves to another bee.
It was really sad to lose these three colonies, but now we know more about what can kill honey bees over the winter.
On a brighter note, the fourth hive is thriving. Here is a picture of the bees leaving their hive on a warm day.
The bees also left their hive from their bottom entrance.
More bees left the hive through the top entrance then the bottom entrance because the cluster was in the top box not the bottom.