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My hive swarmed in late August. When I opened it a week later to inspect, I believe I may have damaged a queen cell they were rearing. I then let it be hoping they would be able to recover and gave them a honey super with some capped honey and some drawn comb so they could have food as they tried to rebuild the colony. I also did an OAV treatment a couple weeks later and crossed my fingers. However, after some taps on the hive recently, I don't hear any activity and fear it did not have enough time to recover to stay warm enough to survive. On some of the warmer days, it looks like a lot of girls coming and going but I suspect that it may be from the neighboring hive's bees robbing the honey. I didn't want to open the hive with the logic being that I would bust apart any winter sealing they would've tried to do.

If I don't recover the honey from the empty hive, it will be crystallized in the Spring (probably already is as we've had several frosts). SO....1) Do I leave it out there as extra food for the neighboring colony and other bees in the neighborhood? 2) Bring it in the house and try to thaw it out by the woodstove so it can be consumed? Is it too late? 3) Use the empty hive and some of the capped honey in there as a place to start a split in the Spring and will the fact the neighboring hive is used it make a difference? I should mention that I was running two deeps and the honey super partially filled so there's alot of material in there that will go to waste. If it's crystallized, I just assume they clean it out if they are able.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hi 4est. Please add your location to your profile. Where you live could impact the advice you seek. Chances are you will want to open the suspected dead out and confirm your suspicions first. Your location will determine if it is worth risking opening the other hive.
 
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