I mentioned in previous blog entries that one of my backyard hives is dead. The weather was nice enough that I started taking it apart (this spring I hope to start a new hive in it, so I need to clear it out).
I took off the top super, and started taking out the frames. Here's what I found:
If you look carefully, underneath the dead bees on the comb surface, are dead bees head-first in the cells. The poor dears died trying to get the last licks of honey out of the cells. This is the classic evidence of starvation. Every beekeeper knows it, and every beekeeper dreads it.
Also, you can see not too far away from the mass of bees the light glistening off of liquid in cells. I do not know if this is honey/nectar, but it very well could be. In very cold weather, bees won't "break cluster" to even go inches away, and can starve in 3 days if there is no food.
In the second picture you can see the blue dot on the queen's back. She was in the middle of that cluster, nice and warm originally, but she too died with her daughters. Very sad. That was one of the queens that I reared.
I can learn from this experience that I need to put the bee candy on the hives (as food insurance) a lot earlier than I did. The weather was so cold so quick, I thought the bees had enough food. But obviously not.