Thanks for all the replies. It is frustrating to see one of the hives in a declining state. We'd like to save them.
Did you have honey supers on at any time and remove them?
Not recently, the supers were removed about six weeks ago, but production was down considerably for this hive.
Is there any sign of robbing?
Nothing that we observed.
It looks like the tongues on those dead emerging bees are sticking out. Isn't that a sign of pesticide poisoning?
Yes they are sticking out and pointing up. That was curious for me too. But hive 10 feet away seems fine.
Could be a sign of a dearth.
2. There has been a dearth in your area for the last month or more.
Not likely, since it has been wetter and warmer than usual this fall with many flowers still blooming up until this morning (first freeze). Also as I noted above, the hive located with 10 feet has excellent stores and there is no sign they have tapped into them in any way.
It is time to push the sugar syrup to them if you want to keep them alive through the winter.
I'd feed them until they have some stores or winter sets in.
Yes you need to feed them as much as possible. Get that feed on, now!
That looks like the consistent advice and yes we put 2 gallons on this hive Saturday. The problem now is freezing temps are coming frequently and will soon be nearly every night. How late can we keep the liquid syrup on the hive?
We are using a hive-top-feeder like this one: http://www.mannlakeltd.com/images/catalog/feeding_bees.gif