Should we reuse old comb from a TBH where the bees just disappeared?
At the beginning of spring last year, we had three strong TBHs (Bush bees); we had purchased one package in February of 2011 and put them in the hive in April, I think. We moved the hives down away from our house because they had become very aggressive and we felt that they were in a place on our property where there was too much activity and it was bothering them. Our first hive had swarmed a few times, we had collected two swarms to start our other two hives. Everything was going along fine last summer. We had inspected hive #2 and it was going strong when two weeks later, when we inspected, there was no bee to be found in that hive. All of the comb was empty and black. My husband wanted to reuse the comb but I felt that if we didn't know the reason for the abandonment, maybe we shouldn't reuse that comb. We have tried to melt it down for wax and it will not melt. Has anyone had this experience? Then hive #3 got weak as well, so by the end of the fall, we had one very strong hive and one with six good combs with honey. We didn't take any honey to speak of because we wanted to see how much honey they needed to thrive through the winter. Would it have been okay to move the six bars from the second hive into the strong hive that was almost full? We have the 48" long TBH up off the ground on legs about three feet tall.