Dead hive and can't tell why

Can anyone help me diagnose what happened to my flow hive? I have two flow hives and one regular langstroth hive. I opened this hive today because I didn’t see any activity on the outside and found 100% mortality. The photo shows the two center frames, and the clusters of bees are all dead. This was my strongest hive all summer and the only one I was able to put the honey super on and harvest honey.

I was feeding all my hives with 50/50 sugar water up until 2-3 weeks ago. They stopped eating so I stopped feeding. Up until that point, all three hives were quite active on warm days. The other flow hive is within 10 feet of this one. The other two hives continue to

have plenty of activity.

I did give each hive Apiguard, and did notice some dead bees on the outside of this flowhive after a week or so, but that’s about the only difference between the three hives.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks,


Sorry for your loss. :cry:

It sounds very much like varroa, even though you treated. Unless you did sugar shake or alcohol wash mite counts before and after treating, it will be hard to be sure. This is a very good article that will give you some ideas of what to look for:

Other frequent possibilities are starvation and condensation in cold weather.

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That looks like a good article Dawn. Thanks for sending me the link, and I’ll read it over tomorrow. It’s a real bummer since that was my first hive and was my strongest.


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I’m going to pull the hive apart tomorrow. So hopefully I’ll have more clues. I’m in the middle of remodeling my house and just happened to take a peak at the hives on some downtime, and was of course surprised at what I found considering how robust that hive was.

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Looks like it was varroa. And my mistake was treating about a month too late and not doing the sugar shake. My learning curve continues.

Now the question is what to do with the frames of honey. I don’t want it since I was treating with Apigaurd. They are on plastic frames. I read somewhere that I shouldn’t leave it out for the other bees to consume because it may teach them to rob honey once they get a taste for it. Should I scrape it and dump it or ???

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Well done on your autopsy. Heartbreaking for sure, but my husband is a (human) pathologist and we are strong believers in making sure that we know what the cause of death was in any situation of unexpected demise. That is important both for the beekeeper (doctor) and for the family (next colony to be cared for).

As you now have evidence that the cause of death was varroa and not bacterial or other disease, I would freeze the frames of honey for 24 hours, then keep them for use next year. They are solid gold for a new colony! Wrap them closely in hive boxes with burlap to prevent ant and wax moth access, and store them in a cool place like a garage or shed.