jplethora great post showing the classic October breakdown…right down to the visible varroa mites on the white larvae.
Those multiple viruses from the varroa that infect the hive raise havoc with queen supercedure…my experience says you have lost this hive.
This graph illustrates what happens only for Randy Oliver (Scientific Beekeeping - California beekeeper) and as indicated, his crash happened a little later than yours.
Understanding this graph is important to get the varroa treatment coordinated with the brood cycles in your area. It took me a few seasons to figure this out…now I don’t think I have a mite problem and I think it should remain that way. Apivar strips immediately inserted right after the last honey pull (last week of August…can’t wait any later in my area) and then OA shop towels/cellulose sponge cloths on the hive throughout the summer is my recommendation for anyone who has a continuous summer brood cycle similar to mine…otherwise I see what you see:
As a side note, successful commercial beekeepers in my area are saying they can keep varroa numbers suppressed for a few summer months simply by having new queens…a biological varroa control method but you still have to assume the mite numbers start exploding late season.
Randy is also working on efficacy of thymol varroa control products…
Thanks for posting your experience…it’s “reality” beekeeping!