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What to do with a dead hive?

 
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semiautonomous
Nurse Bee


Joined: 30 Dec 2013
Posts: 44
Location: England, Shropshire, Shrewsbury

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:46 pm    Post subject: What to do with a dead hive? Reply with quote

I had three colonies in two htbhs going into last winter. Two looked really strong but the third, one of the colonies sharing a hive, looked rather week. I think they swarmed rather a lot last summer. I was intending to try and combine them with the other colony in that hive but my health wasn't too good around that time and I didn't have the energy to try it. Also they had looked kind of week going into the previous winter but then came back strong that summer. So I just transferred a couple of combs of honey from the other two and hoped for the best. Well they didn't survive the winter even though there is plenty of honey left. What should I do now? This is the first time I've had to deal with a dead hive and I'm at a bit of loss. There don't appear to be any dead bees inside the hive, the eco floor is bare apart from some spiders and wood lice. So am I right in thinking they may have just not had a viable queen and they just petered out or is there a risk that some disease killed them? And what do I do with all these moldy combs now? I know I should have gotten this sorted out a while ago but again my health along with being really busy this spring has gotten this pushed down the priority list till now.

Here are some pics of the comb.









Thanks for reading, Duncan Smile
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1495
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess is that they most likely went queenless at some point or the queen didn't mate properly. You can still extract the honey for your own use and also render down the wax for whatever you may want. - I make it into hand cream and even wax that is old and black is fine once it has been filtered though when it is very black there is very little wax in it.

Then in case of disease, scorch the insides of the hive before re-use.
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rays
House Bee


Joined: 09 Jul 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Vaud, Switzerland

PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having had a very similar experience with a weak colony that had petered out over winter, I did precisely as catchercradle is recommending here. The hive is now all cleaned out and ready to receive new residents at the earliest opportunity this Spring.
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SamH
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Mar 2016
Posts: 50
Location: Chichester, UK

PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's probably a good idea to clear out the worst of the mouldy comb, and harvest the remaining honey to avoid attracting natures robbers, but should semiautonomous not keep a few empty brood combs for luring a swarm? I only ask as I think my colony is going the same way (although I thought that a month ago and they're still clinging on...).

Sam
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semiautonomous
Nurse Bee


Joined: 30 Dec 2013
Posts: 44
Location: England, Shropshire, Shrewsbury

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah thanks guys. I wasn't sure if the moldy comb would be any good for anything or might have tainted the honey or something. Good to know I can just clear it out and use whatever's there.
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