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I went into my 3 hives this past weekend to add pollen patties here in central NJ. All three were fine when I added sugar blocks last month. I was very disappointed to find a dead out colony in what was my strongest hive. I honestly was saddened, as if I had let them down. All three hives were treated exactly the same. They were treated for mites in the Fall, counts were low at the time. I wrapped all three and vented them top and bottom just like I did last year. The bees are all still in the hive, just all are dead.

Of the other two hives one was absolutely humming with activity on a 55F day. The other was not quite as active, but the bees were still taking sugar blocks that I put in back in early February.

Any guess on what happened?

How should I deal with the dead bees and the frames and boxes so I can safely re-use them in a couple months?

Alan
 

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I remember our first dead out colony very well, third winter and it was totally my fault. Where I had placed it on a little stand was right under a large tree. Heavy snowfall that accumulated on the branches, then eventually a big clump of heavy wet snow came down and knocked the hive off the stand. At first we were quite perturbed about the, but then i got to thinking and realized, some deadouts not always a bad thing.

When swarm season comes around, the mantra is 'give them space'. Well, now you have boxes with drawn comb to use for 'space'.

For handling the boxes, I wouldn't do a lot special. I'd take them from where they are, put them in a dry place to store, preferably some place wax moths cannot find them. When your existing colonies are building up in spring like gangbusters, take one of these boxes and put it on top of the growing colony, let them grow into it.
 
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