Dead bees, full frames: how to prepare all this equipment for new packages?
I posted a thread needing wisdom because I left a super on one of my hives. I got really great advice, and thanks to you all.
It seems as though I missed a much bigger issue. Both my hives are dead. That hive starved!
Now my task is to get the 2 hives ready for 2 new packages I've ordered for May.
One hive has an entire 8-frame medium full of honey stores, at least it looks like it to me.
Of course, there is drawn out foundation in both hives.
Can I use that honey?
Can I use the frames that have been drawn?
What about the dead, rotting larvae? Can I let the birds pick at the frames?
Will the new packages even take to the old inhabitant's living space?
Re: Dead bees, full frames: how to prepare all this equipment for new packages?
Just knock the bees out of it that you can, wrap it all in some trash bags and seal it up to keep the wax moths away.
Because you do have honey in it, I would also recommend using a vacuum cleaner to "vacuum seal" the hive bodies with the plastic bags. If you have access to some oxygen absorbers, toss a few of those in there. Otherwise you can use a little bit of dry ice (inside the sealed bag), or just toss the whole thing in the freezer over night.
The long and the short of it is that you COULD have some small hive beetles hanging out in there that will just have a field day with the honey, and you'll open it up in a couple months to some pretty rank smelling fermented stuff. The O2 absorbers I happen to have around, but dry ice is usually easy enough to come by, and a full-size freezer is awesome for treating whole hive bodies with frames in place. You can also just stack your frames up, hold them all together with a rubber band, and stick those in a regular freezer, too, but you'll want to manually check the hive bodies if you can't freeze them. Doesn't hurt to throw some extra glue in any cracks you find.
Once it's all bagged up and de-bugged, store it somewhere cool, and when the new packages of bees come in, dump them right into the pre-furnished homes! (They're not nearly as squishy about removing corpses of previous tenants as we are.) It'll actually give them a much needed boost, since I know you won't be able to get your new packages until May.