HIVE #1----10 frame with 1 med. of shavings, 1 med., 1 deep
* plenty of honey & pollen left
-4 frames in the medium
-3 frames in the deep
* sugar board -light use
* no mites found
* many bee parts
HIVE #2 ----- 10 frame with 1 med. of shavings, 1 med., 1 deep.
* Honey and pollen left
-3 frames in medium
-3 frames in deep
* sugar board- heavy use
* No mites
* many bee parts
HIVE #3 ----- 8 frame thick walled (1 3/4") hive, 1 med. of shavings, 4 mediums.
* plenty of honey in the 2nd and 3rd supers
- no honey in the top or bottom supers
* sugar board- moderate use, many dead bees on top of it
- many whole dead bees
-many mites found
*** Small hive beetles found!
As I am not a bee and wasn't in the hive this is at best reasoned conjecture.
In hive #1&2, I believe they were decimated and harassed by shrews. The heads of the bees were severed (see pics). This is characteristic of shrews not mice. The shrews then extract the bees' insides with their darling little snouts. Mice would most likely have had a nest in there and they are primarily interested in honey, comb, and pollen. In both of these hives, I had a new type of mouse/shrew guard that was pushed away. No doubt I should have better secured it.
In hive #3 which was a nice strong hive, there is no doubt that mites were the killer. It appears that my management procedures did not work on this one. Will have to become more aggressive at mite control-"help me" David Payant.
The shocking discovery was the small hive beetles. There weren't many but the point is they are here- probably came from the south in a package. They need to pupate in the ground during the winter. The winters have always been our barrier against them--is our warm weather helping the beetles?
We had an isolated hive at my daughter Cassandra's house that appears robust and ready for spring.
I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking (click image to enlarge). Feel free to contact me about issues you are seeing in your spring hives.