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Well, my first year keeping bees was educational but not entirely satisfying as (1) I received no honey and (2) they died this terribly cold winter :(

We didn't get our package bees until mid- late May and they seemed to be doing well all year, growing in numbers. The completely filled 2 deeps and started drawing comb in 1 honey super but didn't have it entirely drawn out so no honey. When I got cold I closed off the bottom of the hive and only left a small opening for them to get in/out. There is also a small round hole open on the top of the top deep and I left this open for circulation so as to hopefully not condensate too much. I opened the hive about 2 weeks ago and found no live bees. The honey seems to be mostly gone in the 2 deeps which makes me wonder if 2 deeps full of honey in central Wisconsin is not enough?

So, we have a new package of bees coming next month. But I'm unsure of the following:

1. Do we need to remove all comb and foundations and replace with new for the new hive or will the bees clean out any old larvae and anything else in the comb?
2. Do we need to treat with any medicines as soon as the new bees are installed or just let them go on their merry way growing in numbers?
3. Any special cleaning we need to do on the current hive where the last bees died out?

Thanks.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>1. Do we need to remove all comb and foundations and replace with new for the new hive or will the bees clean out any old larvae and anything else in the comb?

I would use them all as is.

> 2. Do we need to treat with any medicines as soon as the new bees are installed or just let them go on their merry way growing in numbers?

That is more of a philosophical question. I would not treat them.

> 3. Any special cleaning we need to do on the current hive where the last bees died out?

You can pull each frame and lightly brush off the dead bees. Some will remain with their heads in the cells, but I would not try to get them out.
 

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> 2. Do we need to treat with any medicines as soon as the new bees are installed or just let them go on their merry way growing in numbers?

That is more of a philosophical question. I would not treat them.

I would ask the supplier if the bees were already treated before I treated them with anything if I wanted to go the rout of treated bees. If not then do what Michael says and don't treat
 

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> That is more of a philosophical question. I would not treat them.

I would ask the supplier if the bees were already treated before I treated them with anything if I wanted to go the rout of treated bees. If not then do what Michael says and don't treat
Do you recommend treating at all? I've been led to believe I need to treat for American Foulbrood as well as for tracheal mites. I just want to ensure I do the correct thing to help the bees and to obtain great honey.
 

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>Do you recommend treating at all? I've been led to believe I need to treat for American Foulbrood as well as for tracheal mites. I just want to ensure I do the correct thing to help the bees and to obtain great honey.

I have been keeping bees 40 years. I have never treated for tracheal mites. I treated the first year for AFB and never in the 39 years since. I have never treated for Nosema. I treated for Varroa mites for a few years until I could get a handle on them. So, no, I do not recommend treating at all. If you are the kind of person who thinks that you should go to the doctor and get a prescription for whatever ails you, then maybe you should go down that treatment road as you will probably be happier believing you are helping. If you're the kind of person who keeps an organic garden despite the naysayers who say it's impossible, you'll be much happier not treating. In almost every country in the world besides ours, it's illegal to treat for American Foulbrood or Nosema...
 

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Do you recommend treating at all? I've been led to believe I need to treat for American Foulbrood as well as for tracheal mites. I just want to ensure I do the correct thing to help the bees and to obtain great honey.
You don't mention in any of your posts if you tested for mites. I would not treat for American Foulbrood, or tracheal mites, with no evidence of an issue. As for varroa, that's a different issue. You should at least test for your numbers, and consider treating at a certain level. You know what they say about those who do the same thing again and expect a different result. Importing packages that were treated and just blindly hoping for the best, will make you a package producer's best customer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you. Yes, we do keep an organic garden and do very well with it, better than those I know that use chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. Seems some of the commercial beekeepers that I've spoken with scare the heck out of you that you need all the stuff as 1 out of 3 hives will die due to getting one of the aforementioned diseases.

Thank you for all the help and advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have not tested for mites nor know how to be honest.
Also, I don't follow when you talk about importing packages that were treated and hoping for the best ... what should I ask the place I am purchasing my package bees from?
 

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I recommend you check Randy Oliver's site at "http://scientificbeekeeping.com/varroa-management/" for info on varroa management. I would venture to say that if your packages are coming from Georgia, or California, there is virtually no chance that the bees were raised without at least treating for varroa. If they were treatmnet free, I 'm pretty sure your suppliler would be advertising them as such.
 
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