My Hive died. Why and where to go from here.
My hive is right out side a window so I check on the outside every day. On warm(ish ~40-45F) days I'd see a few newly dead bees on the landing board, which I presume is normal winter attrition. A few weeks ago I noticed that this pattern had stopped. So I went to check no them yesterday and found that they had died. Upon inspection I noticed that they did have plenty of stores (which I had worried about earlier), but died none the less. Is their death something I could have prevented? The cluster (see pic below) looks quite small (there were also quite a lot of bees on the bottom board), though I have no personal reference of how big a cluster should be. I wonder if they just didn't have the numbers going into winter that they really needed.
A frame above the cluster:
This was my first hive and I've made my fair share of mistakes for sure but now I'm wondering where to go from here. After having a langstroth hive I realized that I think I'd rather have a top bar hive. Is there anything I can do with the resources from this hive? Some thoughts I had were:
1) use some old brood comb for a bait hive (a bait hive or two sounds fun!)
2) chop down a couple frames to fit into my top bar to give my package (coming in april) a head start. I heard you shouldn't move honey between hives though so maybe thats a bad idea? What fairly new empty comb?
3) throw the rest out (?); the honey is no good for people since I'd been feeding.
Thanks for input!