Have you noticed them wearing armor, carrying spears or anything like that? They're vicious Amazons, take no prisoners!!
Actually, depending on the weather they can go bust to boom fairly quickly (and vice versa). They may have been doing some intensive brood rearing, used up their honey and then viola a nectar flow starts.
As to the dead bees...could have been a bit of robbing. But typically if a hive gets robbed out it is because it is weak, and will only get weaker. If it were strong enough to rob a hive back, it would have been strong enough to defend its stores in the first place. And bees may get angry, but I doubt they are bent on retribution. Dead bees - thus Kathy's questions about animals. Or if there were thousands it could be pesticide.
Feeding: timing can mean a lot ...if you feed in a dearth they will consume lots . If you feed during a nectar flow, they may not take any. (so your government comparison still works, just maybe from a different angle).
And that would be "Droneacrats" and "Beepublicans".