After just two weeks, this handful of bees is all that is left of three new and robust hives. On Wednesday of last week, the absence of busy bee activity was noticed and on Thursday, upon closer inspection, I witnessed hundreds of dead bees at the entrance of each hive; bees trying to fly, but dropping to the ground; bees trying to right themselves off their backs with failure; bees walking in circles; and the few bees that were able to take flight, quickly circle back to their hive.
Yesterday, I opened up the hives to get a closer look at what remains. I saw unusually small, dark, uncapped larvae as well as many workers head first and dead in comb. But, to my surprise, I spotted two queens each with a recovered army of workers around her. The colonies are small and it will be a miracle if they survive. We’ll keep feeding our honeys and hope that the workers can keep the brood warm.
My gut tells me this collapse happened over days. We are investigating and hope to get concrete answers as to what affected our sweet bees so dramatically.