A Winter Die-Off Post Mortem: The Photos

I discovered one of my honey bee colonies dead about a month ago. (See A Winter-Die Off and this video for the details.) My guess was the colony starved to death because it didn’t have enough honey. Judging from what I saw during the post mortem examination I did today, I was right.

Starved out bees in cells. (March 10, 2013.)

Starved out bees in cells. (March 10, 2013.)

P.S.: I would have had a more detailed post with photos and a video uploaded by now, but I just spent the last three hours trying to get my Picasa web albums to display photos like it always has for me. I had a simple, streamlined method of posting photos through Picasa that’s worked perfectly for years. But a recent effort by Google to integrate photos into Google Plus (their version of Facebook) has messed up the whole thing. I don’t like Facebook but I do like Google Plus, so it’s too bad they had to blow it. Anyway, I’ve managed to get to everything back to normal, but I don’t know how I did it and I don’t feel like wasting anymore time on it. I have little patience for constant upgrades that usually fix things that aren’t even broke. I might post a video next weekend when I’m in a better mood. In the meantime, here’s a slide show of what I found:

iPad and other non-Flash mobile devices can view slide show photos here: Starved Bees (2013).

9 thoughts on “A Winter Die-Off Post Mortem: The Photos

  1. Yup almost exactly the same thing I saw last month. Except when I pulled it apart mice shot out of the bottom super, looks like the bees moved upwards then that really cold snap hit and the didn’t move around to eat the honey. The outer frames were full but in inner omes looked just like yours. Shame

  2. I too lost a hive this winter. When I openend it up there was about 8 frames full of honey !!!! I believe my queen died or maybe she did not have enough room to lay eggs . It is always devistating to find a dead colony. We do however , learn from our mistakes.

    Love your posts by the way, even if the last one brought tears to my eyes.

  3. Hi,
    Just wanted to give you a heads up about the picasa album, it is not viewable on Apple and android tablets that don’t have flash support. I don’t know if there is a way to embed the album using html 5,but another option is to insert a direct link to the album after the flash embed, so people without flash can still see the album.
    Thanks for the post!
    – Chris

  4. Thanks, Chris. I’m looking into an Html 5 alternative to Picasa. It will take some time to integrate into the site, but it’s coming… some day.

  5. I still have six colonies that are alive and kicking. I’ll add these frames, even the ones full of dead bees, to some of the healthy colonies and they’ll clean it all up in no time.

    I could have prevented this by checking on the bees earlier in the winter and giving them sugar (and by feeding them more before winter set in). But that’s it. I can’t beat myself up over it. I made a mistake and I learned my lesson.

    Even though I blew it, having twenty extra drawn frames from the dead hive this spring will come in handy. You have to know about beekeeping to know why, but beekeepers without drawn frames are like farmers who don’t have sprinklers and have to rely entirely on the rain.

  6. This was sent to me last week from our (nova scotia) bee health advisor, might be of use to you as  
    I have had correspondence from 2 commercial beekeepers about their concern of pollen stores for hives coming out of winter this year.
    One beekeeper took the opportunity of some warmer weather and checked a number of hives to find that they had little or no stored pollen. This lack of pollen will delay spring build up if no action is taken by the beekeeper. 
    The second beekeeper had checked colonies in the fall for appropriate stores and noticed at that time a shortage of pollen stores and feed pollen patties as part of preparation for winter.
    The weather conditions of late last summer and fall were such that honey production was impacted and possibly pollen collection was reduced.  
    In order for brood production to take place both carbohydrates and protein are needed i.e. honey and pollen.
    You should definitely be watching for lack of stores in your colonies as the bees come out of winter and  consider  feeding pollen substitutes as soon as the weather permits.
    Joanne E. Moran

  7. Is the hive that died out the same one from the Newfoundland blizzard video? If it is, then my guess is that your bees were suffocating because of the snow (good insulation equals no air exchange), so they started ventilation (which you can see in the video), which made them use more energy and all of their honey supplies too fast.

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