It sounds like a classic die-off from moisture, rot and of course starvation.
Mouldy and mushy combs in center is as bad a moisture problem as it gets. Poor creatures went the hard way! Cold, wet, starved with gut full of crap!
I keep at it, but I gues people just don't read? If they do, it seems to go in one ear and out the other?
I hate to point fingers here, nor am I looking for an argument - but there is no need for bees to suffer like this.
I constantly harp, that upper entrance is needed, for many a reason. In this case all of the reasons are represented, came together in one hive?
That is rare.
Just one of the above mentioned problems will do them in....
Especialy this, last season is for many a beek loaded with problems. Hives are not set up for weather conditions that you people are experiencing lately. Things were working fine before, but this winter all of your 50 states had snow, at one time or another! Even Hawaii!?
Your bees are not used to this kind of weather and/or fast changes as we experience the lately. They don't know what to do, but eventually figure things out, cause, cold automatically sort of brings them together and survival instinct eventually takes over. But all that takes time - where our "northern bees' know, even foretell the weather in advance and act accordingly. In a way, for northern bees life in the extremes is a bit easier. . . .
Bees usualy stay under the top (is warmer there) and if they have to go, they have to go all the way down and out.
Here they could not even go out - the entrance was blocked, if I get this right?
If there was even the smallest entrance, up top? For one bee at a time? They could easily went poop elsewhere, cause through the upper hole - outside is only a few steps away! Bees being cold blooded, they can make it from the top - never from down below.
Think about it people, would you go around the block, when you have the sh..., or just run two steps to the john across the hall........? Which route would you take and keep the drawers clean?
And don't forget this all important part! Lay a piece of Styrofoam on top of inner cover! To keep the roof over their head dry!
Where moist, warm air from the cluster, meets the cold surface of the inner cover, it will condense and in short time it will start to drip on them. If it is too cold outside, frost and ice will form under this cover and make them awfully uncomfortable. When the weather warms, or sun warms the hive, this will melt and drip on them - do them in!
Wet bee is a dead bee! Insulation above their heads will keep them dry and alive, of course if some other requirements are also met?
Keep those hives tilted slightly forward! If using SBB it makes almost no difference, but solid bottoms are problematic if tilted towards the back! :'( :shock: