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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Bawden

Why Did My Bees Die?

Every winter and spring there is a flood of beekeepers reaching out on websites, forums and groups asking the same question, why did my bees die?

This post has been created to help streamline the process of answering that question.

You can use this list to provide accurate information that allows others to properly give feedback from a distance.

This will also allow the user to review their management practices and improve their beekeeping discipline. This is a great exercise for a bee club to help boost everyone's colony survival the following season!


  • How many years of beekeeping experience do you have?

  • When did you realize your colony was dead?

  • What was the date of the postmortem inspection?

  • How many frames of bees were in the dead colony during this final inspection?

  • Did you test for mites during the season? What dates?

What testing method did you use?

What was your sample size and mite count?

Did you use a varroa mite treatment? What brand?

What dose did you apply? Frequency?

When did you apply this treatment?

  • Were there any events that happened prior to the death of the colony? Examples might include swarming, bear attack, hive stand collapse and opening the colony during winter.

  • Are you in close proximity to other beekeepers (area within 2 miles) and do you coordinate varroa testing and treatment?

  • Did you feed your colony sugar syrup or pollen substitute at the end of the season? When?

  • What was the colony’s weight going into the winter? What was the weight during the final inspection?

  • What format of hive are you using to overwinter in? Examples might include nuc, single deep, double deep, top bar.

  • Describe your method of winterizing the colony.

  • What was the date of your last colony inspection prior to winter? How many frames of living bees did the colony have going into winter?

If you think you know your answer, share your expertise with others and get yourself another Nuc or two and keep on beekeepin.

Thanks for supporting local beekeeping,

Trevor Bawden

Lloyd St. Bees

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