Ted Albers writes:
Opened hive on 11/16/13 after a freeze. Could this be 'cold brood?' Note how many are head-down (to generate heat?) Not sure strength of hive before the freeze; plenty of honey but perhaps too far from center of hive. About 3 frames looked like this (clustered near one another.) Many fewer dead bees found than a full/robust hive should have so perhaps hive was already in decline. (Shelburne.) Thanks!
Mike Palmer Replies:
Yes, I would say the colony has been in decline for some time. While there are a number of bees head-first in open cells, indicating starvation, I don't believe the colony starved. I see colonies like this every year when I pick up winter losses. Diagnosis is confirmed by looking at the remaining cells of capped brood. In the lower left corner of your photograph, I see a worker that died while attempting to emerge from her cell. Do you see it? Open the cell with a pocket knife or the corner of your hive tool. Does she have fully formed wings? Does she have a normal sized abdomen, or is it flat and stunted?