Colonies shouldn't last more than a two or three years without mite treatments. This barrel has been next to my apiary for 3 1/2 years and it's still not dead. I didn't hive them last year because they should have died out. So I'll transfer them to a hive in April. The barrel is falling apart so I was able to lift the lid and look inside. Not too many bees but they're bringing in pollen so there must be brood in there somewhere.