Winter death, what should I do now?
I believe my hive, which had been doing well, has died over winter. I checked for sounds in January and heard the buzzing, so I know the colony was still alive then. Checked on Sunday(March 11) and could not hear anything. I don't want to open the hive and disturb them if there are any still alive, but I see lots of dead bees around the front entrance and there were some houseflies hanging around too. I'm afraid that if the entire hive has died that there maybe flies and other 'vermin' that will multiply inside the comb frames. If the whole hive has perished, what do I need to do before repopulating with a new package this spring? Should I clean the frames at all or let the new bees clean everything out? Would it be wise to completely open the hive and check on it, or should I wait until its warmer? Temperatures are still in the 30's (in general) in this area ( central IL)
This is my first year with bees. This hive had done very well in gaining population from the original installed package. There are 2 hive bodies and a honey super. What a bummer if they have all perished!