Asked March 26, 2018, 4:21 PM EDT

I purchased bees last summer and they were doing really well. I checked on them during the winter and while I did see some dead bees on the ground the hive seemed to be OK. But when I checked on them again the end of Feb, they were all dead. Did they freeze? Should I have covered the hive? There was still plenty of honey in the hive. I have ordered more bees and will try again, but I don't want these bees to die too.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We're sorry to hear you lost all of your bees this winter. We checked with a University of Maryland bee lab researcher who provided this information for you:

It can be difficult to tell how a hive died, but usually it is due to starvation, humidity within the hive (condensation builds up on bees and freezes), or an infestation of varroa mites. This blog on our website is a great resource: This will help you narrow down the cause and also gives solutions on how to keep your bees from dying next year.

Also, the bees could have still starved despite having honey within the hive. Bees cluster tightly in the winter time and because of this they can't easily move from box to box. For example, if all of the honey was in the top box, the bees might starve still because they aren't able to migrate up due to the cold. If you keep bees again this year, we would suggest moving some frames of honey down near the cluster of bees in the fall.

In addition, you might want to join your local beekeepers association. This is a good way to meet and learn from other beekeepers.