Urban beekeeping in New Mexico's largest city.
I am a first year beekeeper and consider myself a novice!.
I need some urgent help and advice with my hive.
We have one Langstroth hive that we started in the beginning of this season. All had been going pretty well as far I could tell the whole year, other than I had to treat the hive for Varroa mites a couple of months ago or so. There was not a lot of bee deaths because of the treatment, and after that everything seemed to continue as normal.
However, probably about a month ago by now, or about a week before I winterized the hive, we started seeing large numbers of dying and dead bees around the opening of the hive on a daily basis. It has slowed down a bit as the weather got colder, but I would say during that first week before we winterized the hive, there were at least 50 or more new dead bees every day. At first I thought this may be normal, and simply their house-cleaning before the winter starts - but the dead bees are worker bees - not drones. I did open the hive and took a good look inside when I winterized it - but did not see anything obvious amiss with my novice eyes - everything looked pretty much like business as usual inside the hive.
Even now, every day there are at least 10 or more new dead bees around the opening of the hive. - actually quite a pile of them by now.
This does not look normal to me - but I have not been able to find any information online that could explain to me what may be going on - hence my call for help!
Does anyone have any idea what may be going on and what I could or should do about it? PS! I live in Placitas if could interest anyone enough to came take a first hand look!
What you're seeing may be OK. It's hard to say, but you'll have to wait until spring (meaning no more long freezes and flowers are starting to bloom) before you open that hive. If you open that hive you'll break their seal and that could be far more damaging than just waiting.
My first year, too, but conventional wisdom would say don't open the hive. There's nothing you can do at this point.