I suffered a loss of one of my colonies a week ago. I had been in nine days earlier, following a mite drop test that had 20 mites over a two-day period. I noticed a small population, which I had observed from not as much activity in and out the front door as my other colony. But there was the marked queen with attendants around her in the middle of the top brood box. There were honey frames with lots of stores and I had a feeder on with syrup and wintergreen.
I went no further after rejoicing on seeing the queen, since I was planning to go in as soon as the correct 4.9 crimp wire wax foundation arrived, and I would feed these SC frames into the brood nest. I was thrilled they had made it through the winter.
Two days later we went down to freezing. When it warmed up I noticed very little activity, and it was several days later that it was warm enough to go in to put the new foundation, and my colony was dead. There were perhaps thirty dead bees on the SBB, and a few on the frames. A few had their heads in the cells, and there was capped honey on that frame.
I collected as many bees as I could and sent them to Beltsville in alcohol, (Had to repackage because the Post office hates shipments with alcohol so we had to flag it hazardous and send it surface shipment only) along with sections of comb. I am awaiting their diagnosis.
After grieving, I decided to look at this as an opportunity to begin a new colony all on small cell foundation. I ordered a package from Walter Kelly and will get my frames in order and ready to go.
I have a lot of drawn comb, but will not use it in the brood chamber because I want the bees to draw out the foundation all on new 4.9 crimp wire full sheets.
Depending on the diagnosis from Beltsville, I was hoping to let the new colony have the stores from the old colony by putting them above a queen excluder so they will not be used for brood. PS no sign of wax moth
Will the presence of large cell above the excluder affect the drawing out of the small cell in the brood chamber?
I plan to mark these frames of stores, since they may contain syrup with wintergreen and not use them to extract for human consumption. Can my new package salvage wax from these frames as well as honey to use in the brood chamber?
My second colony is going great guns.