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Sudden Death of Colony. Starvation or?

Within the space of about 10 days my small colony of bees died seemingly en masse. The colony was a swarm captured on 26th January and placed directly into new FlowHive box. Initially supported with sugar water for a week they had made enough comb too fill about 1/4 of the box. Inspected 2-3 times after this they had half filled the comb with brood and had a small amount of capped honey in the top corners of 4 of the frames. Two beetle traps were placed (one Silver Bullet with diatomaceous earth and one TK frame) a couple of days prior to a period of extreme rain lasting 10-12 days. A few days after the rain when I went to check essentially all the bees were dead 1/3 at the entrance and 2/3 at the bottom of the hive. There were no adult hive beetles in the traps but there was a lot of SHB larvae in the comb. Some mould was visible under the gabled roof. No mites were seen. The pupae, when uncapped, were mostly intact. Did my bees starve? should I have supported them with sugar syrup whilst still developing their colony? Is the mould significant.?

Hi and welcome to the forum. Unfortunately, not a very happy occasion for you.
I haven’t been beekeeping that long, but I’m confident they starved. For such a new colony, they wouldn’t have the stores to get them through that long wet period. Bees don’t really collect pollen or nectar in the rain - in fact they will quickly vanish shortly before it rains.
It would have been best to start feeding them a few days after the rain started to get them through. They would have taken as much as they needed to survive. If there’s no honey on your frames, you’ll know that was the issue. Others can verify but it’s also possible that the bees at the entrance clogged it up to block any surviving bees from getting out (if there were any).
I nearly starved my bees once but fortunately caught them in time, so I know how you might feel. It’s pretty awful, but you’ll know next time with a prolonged rain forecast and can be a step ahead.
I hope this helps.

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Hi @BucksBees , it’s sad to find all the bees dead like that. I agree with @Outbeck , I think your colony starved to death, then the beetles laid eggs in the unprotected brood. If left long enough, the beetle larvae would have consumed the dead bees as well. Your mission now should be to make sure that as few beetle larvae make it to ground as possible. That’s where they’ll complete their life cycle, before emerging as more beetles. The mold would simply be a result of the wet weather.

Speaking of starving, I’ll be getting my flow hive 2+ this week and bees April 19. Where can I get the feeder/equipment to feed these critters for as long as it looks like they need it? Could anyone reccomend a SOS[source of supply] for a feeder?

I really like this one. They have fixed all of the criticisms in the reviews, except I get the occasional bee which is small enough to creep under the cup over the central chimney structure. Not a big deal. It is good for about 2 quarts of feed, and it never leaks. Great feeder.


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This is a great video by Cedar on DIY feeders - DIY Bee Feeder - Flow Hive 🐝🍯 - YouTube

Thanks to you and JeffH for your comments and thoughts.

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