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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a second year rookie. I have two questions... What do I do with the capped honey that was left from some hives that suddenly died out? I lost 4 our of our 5 hives to what I believe was because a brutal cold weather snap in late March. Bees were all doing ok when I checked on them during some nice winter days. There were a few days in the winter that warmed up enough for them to come out and about for a while. Then like I said, we had a brutal late hard freeze in March. Then when I checked them a few days after the cold snap they were all dead. Should I put it with some other hives or should I just harvest it? I know they did NOT starve to death because there was A LOT of capped honey left for them. This is my first time actually asking a question for help. I tried to attach pics of what I saw when I found my dead bees.
I did send them in for testing to the Bee research Lab in MD. I think it is rather hard to read their results. I have even had other beek look at it and they aren't sure of the results either. If anyone can tell me what it means, great -This is what it looked like...
COMB - Varroa mite (Varroa destructor)
BEES - Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) THERE WAS APPROX 5.8 MITES PRESENT PER 100 BEES.
Honey bee treacheal mite and nosema disease were not detected in the adult bee sample.

I sent in 2 bottles of 100+ adult bees and some brood comb. Any ideas on what this means? Did they freeze or did they die from the mites? Please don't think I am stupid, I am just learning.
Thanks for all your help.
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I had the same thing happen....bees died over the winter with plenty of honey available. I'll be extracting in the near future or use it to sustain some splits. Until then, the frames are in storage. My mite count was under 1%.

Sounds like the lab inspected your comb sample and found mite droppings. They found what is a high level of varroa on the bees (2-3 per hundred (same as percent) is a common target threshold), and there were no nosema or tracheal mites found. My guess is that mites weakened them, and the cold did them in.
 

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If there's enough to extract, I would go ahead and extract it.

I'm personally a little averse to the idea of giving honey from dead-outs to other bees - I think the risk of spreading disease might be too great. Others might think differently, however.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There was about 2 full deeps of capped honey in all, maybe more. So there is plenty to extract. I was worried that it may be tainted? But maybe it is ok to extract and eat?
 

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I would probably use the honey to help some nucs thru the winter. Here in southwest MO I start nucs at the first of August every year and overwinter them in a single deep. A frame or two of drawn comb full of honey is a big boost for them.

My theory on why your bees died.
When it's cold the bees are in cluster and can take a lot of cold. Then it warmed up and the queen started laying brood. The bees will not leave brood to go back into cluster when it turns cold again.
Normal spring cold spells they probably could have withstood. This one was severe. If a hive was very strong or the queen hadn't really gotten fired up yet they probably made it.

This is just my thoughts. I could be wrong, I often am.
Woody Roberts
 

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I have had the same thing happen and was told it was starvation. The bee butts sticking out of the cell is usually a sign that they are scrapping all they can for rations. One of mine had a deep and about four frames of honey. The cluster was at the top and there were small clusters of bees here and there, all dead. After that I always check where they are at and even if the boxes are HEAVY and they are on top I will emergency feed sugar on newspaper. I have been able to keep them going that way. I have harvested honey, but usually keep most of it, if not all, for swarms and splits to help them out a little.
 
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