Great new there Epi!!!
For you of course, that is a horrible (yet all to true) statistic. It really makes you wonder how commercial beekeepers survive. Sadly, I'm sure many do not.
I know for many years Canadian beekeepers killed off their bees rather than Wintering them over, but I read that has changed in many cases. When I look at my own case, I see that I could have netted a about 115 pounds of honey (those hives sure were heavy for 2 stories high) and sadly had the same results with the bees.
But, I'm a beekeeper, not a bee killer, so "offing" the bees never seemed logical to me. Now, the best I can do is offer my remaining honey to the feral bees who are flying around the yard.
Honestly, this might be a beeless year here - as much as I like showing off the hives to neighborhood kids who enjoy watching me inspecting the frames and queen hunting, I really found last year a busy year (for many good and some terrible personal reasons) and I just didn't devote enough energy to properly supporting viable colonies. It honestly isn't fair to the bees, no more than it would be to leave dogs or cats unkempt.
I'm sitting here with a 37ft motorcoach in the yard www.beemaster.com/bus.html
and with some plans to got to Nascar events, travel to NY wine country, hopefully New Port, RI and several other places. Luckily, we have someone to tend to the cats, but the beeyard is my duty and I seem to always put things off - it just isn't fair or healthy to the bees, and other bees in the area.
With disease and parasites, you really aren't just responsible for your own yard, but tending to a community of neighboring beekeepers who might just be doing their very best, meanwhile my own slacking off of proper care could jeopardize others bees as well.
I felt sick looking in both hives today, two weeks ago I had massive flights on a pair of warm days and both hives felt much heavier than they did today - it amazes me at the speed in which the store depleted.
Continued good luck and I hope everyone has better luck than I.