They died because I was gone for 5 months (Oct – Mar) Tried to feed them pollen/fondant while I was gone but it turned semi liquid ran into hive and one colony absconded and the other moved to one side and starved with honey in the hive (but not above them).
RESPONSE: Thanks for your comment on the PNW survey. Sounds like an instance of Bee PMS – so nothing would have helped. Running of feed does occur on occasion – but it was due largely to bees in poor health. The bees moving off brood area is very typical of Bee PMS. I hope you have better luck this next time around.