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Discussion Starter #1
Looking into the hive, even thou alive, I found quite big pile of dead bees at the bottom. In addition there were like 5 partially empty frames with dead bees in the cells.

I am wondering:

1. Should I throw these frames out because maybe there is some bacteria or mold?
2. Why the bees wont take these dead bees out themselves?
3. Should the hive be disinfected with a flame torch to kill the bacteria?
4. Why these hive was going to the winter the strongest but emerged the weakest?

Thanks
 

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1) No. Clean them up a bit by shaking out the dead bees. Let the live bees take care of the rest unless they are just covered with mildew, etc. Bees do a great job cleaning things up...but see #2.
2) A strong and healthy hive will do wonderful housekeeping. My guess is that you have a small cluster and they're much more concerned about their own space and not making space for growth. At least not yet. I would carefully watch this colony.
3) No. Unless you suspect real bad disease, mold and mildew isn't a great cause for concern. Of course, you can always do it if you want. I wouldn't.
4) Probably mite counts and / or food supply. There's a bunch of reasons. Be glad that you have them to work with and give them your utmost attention. I don't think you're quite out of the woods. Do you have a queen? Brood?

Pre-spring for us is often late winter for bees. Watch them and see if they start to build up. By the way, if there is ample evidence of high moisture over the winter months, you have a ventilation issue and excessive moisture / condensation can kill a healthy colony.

Good luck!
 

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Ravenseye is spot on. Also if the bees are head first into the cells its a good indication they are starving. Check the stores they have to see if they are out of honey. If so then you need to feed them.
 

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This is just one possibility . The cluster dwindled down to where it was small enough to not be able to get to food stores when cold trying to keep brood warm then starved. Several causes could come into play here. Queen failure or mites. Do you still have a queen in the hive. If the colony died out then those bees could be from other hives after the honey. Robber bees or scavengers won't do any housekeeping such as removing dead bees. I am unable to detect your location while on my smartphone so maybe it wasn't that cold and hopefully that colony is still alive.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The queen is present and there is literally like 1 alley of bees. The brood is present. Also, there is maybe 4 full frames of honey present.
The bees were located at the top box.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Amd we are back to mites. The OP is outside of Chicago so still dealing with cooler temps.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ravenseye is spot on. Also if the bees are head first into the cells its a good indication they are starving. Check the stores they have to see if they are out of honey. If so then you need to feed them.
The heads were visible, so it seems the bees were too late to emerge, cut by cold or something. Can these frames (looking dark) be used for future honey?
 

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In my area (wnc) I would consider putting them in a smaller box until they bounced back. But ask some local beekeepers first.
 

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In my area (wnc) I would consider putting them in a smaller box until they bounced back. But ask some local beekeepers first.
Well, I am local but not very experienced. I'd say put them in a 5-frame nuc and feed on top. In this area it is very easy to kill off winter bees with moisture. Don't need to ask why I know this. From the description this could be what happened. I have managed to nurse a puny hive back to life, but it's easier on the bees in a tighter space.
 
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