Response to Answer on Winter HIve Loss
Thank you for the quick response on winter hive loss in Reno.
Your thought was that they starved because of lack of honey storage.
I opened the hive this afternoon, just to double check and make sure there wasn't the queen and a few bees still in the center. There was not, and the frames were pretty much drawn out and full of honey. It appeared that some of the areas on the comb had been used for food since I last looked at it in the fall.
Since I am new at this I am not sure what to look for regarding the loss from nosema. I do have a few books that I have read and been studying, but it seems that there is so much you can get there. The hands on and help from other beekeepers has helped me the most, although I haven't made contact with many in my area yet.
I am definitely not discouraged and ready for this spring.
Thanks again, and any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Well, your bees definitely didn't starve :)
Nosema and Varroa would be certainly be high on the list of suspects.
I imagine you're well-informed about Varroa, but here's a page on my site that offers more info about Varroa mites.
Nosema can be quite difficult to diagnose. And in fact, there is now known to be more than one strain of Nosema. The new one, Nosema ceranae, is apparantly even deadlier to bees than the strain of Nosema that beekeepers have been dealing with for many years (Nosema apis).
One possible indicator - though not a sure sign - of Nosema is lots of fecal spotting around the hive entrance. For more info, here's a great article that offers lots of details (and photos) about Nosema
I'm glad you're going to keep at it, and I hope you have a great beekeeping season this year!