Hello, I am in the Northeast US. Last season was my first. I purchased a package of Italian Bees. They did very well all summer and fall. I fed them 1:1 sugar water in the spring and 2:1 in the fall. I winterized the hive this fall. Two deeps, and one super with dry sugar in a feeder. I wrapped the hive with an insulated hive blanket and installed a mouse guard. I was overwhelmed with mite treatment options, and I didn’t notice any visible signs of mites, so I didn’t do any treatments. I noticed a fair amount of dead bees under the hive and at the entrance late fall / early winter. I know dead bees are a good sign because it means there are bees alive inside bringing them out. As the winter went along I noticed no more dead bees or signs of any cleansing flights. I feared the hive had parishad. I confirmed that today, all of the bees were dead on the bottom board. Both deeps appear to be mostly full of capped sugar water / honey, so I don’t suspect starvation. There was a fair amount of moisture on the bottom board, as well as some green on the tops of two of the frames - I suspect mold. Maybe moisture was the culprit? I am looking for advice on two things - One: input into why they all died? I know even experienced beekeepers in cold climates can have issues with overwintering. Two: should I start with another package in the spring, or pay the extra $ for a nuc? If I go with the package should I put in a couple of undrawn frames so the new package has room for brood. All of them now appear to be capped with sugar water / honey. Sorry for the lengthy post. Edit: additional info: the hive population looked fairly good, the entire bottom board was covered with dead bees, around an 1” + thick.
submitted by /u/Scotto1970