We had one hive that did not make it through the winter. Now I'm trying to figure out why, and whether or not I should replace/reuse some frames.
The bottom brood box was very light, just 21 lbs., with only a few bees spread around and little honey/pollen. Lots of dead bees on the screened bottom board.
The top brood box was probably 35-40 lbs. First thing I found was a large circular pattern of feces on the top bars of this top box. Scraped it off...very thick. Nosema? And could that have caused the death of this hive?
If I scrape the frames well, would they be safe to use again with a new package of bees this spring? Doesn't nosema leave spores?
When I introduce a new package, I always fed 1:1 sugar syrup and include a fumagilin treatment. Would that make a difference in whether or not I could safely reuse the frames?
I found many bees on the comb surface of the center five frames, with a good number of them heads-in in the cells. I've done my best to remove them from the cells. (Patience, man, patience and a forceps.)
Very little capped brood that was dead. Some, but not much.
Several frames are heavy with uncapped honey. Very little is capped. Some of the cells seem to show early granulation.
Can these frames go into the new spring hive "as is," or should I remove the honey? And what's the best way to do this? Get the ol' extractor out?
Thanks in advance for your ideas.