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I've posted about our loss of two colonies on other threads. I said I'd do an inspection on a Carniolan hive and take photos, I've done that now and will include some of them. As a first year beek, this is one of the saddest things I've ever had to do. What I found was thousands of bees, as if in suspended animation. They were in a cluster still, some in a sugar block I had provided which was right above and to the side of the cluster. I did not see any eggs, or larvae, and no capped brood that I could tell. There were at least 6 frames that had some honey, or pollen in them. 3 of those frames I would guess add up to 14 to 16 pounds of honey. These frames of honey were two frames over from the cluster. I did see a few bees with mites on them, not many. I did not see that any of the bees had expelled poo, It was if their switch was "turned off". My guess is they froze, and maybe had lost the queen first? I thought I had found her, but wife says no. Would the queen lose some of her size during a "slow down" in egg laying in the winter?
So, we have other colonies. They appear to be doing OK for now. The only difference between the hive that died out, and the one beside it (pictured) is the outer wall of 1" insulation. I did not get both hives covered. You can see my windbreak of sheets of insulation. Those helped a lot. Both had good stores going into winter, and had the added on spacer put on later with a sugar cake, just to make sure they had plenty if needed. The other hive that is doing OK is a single deep, with the 1" insulation on the outside of the box. So both insulated hives have made it ... so far. Maybe a lesson learned there. The cold has been brutal here as in many parts of the country. And more on the way next week.

What do I do with the honey in the frames? Put it in the freezer to give to the other colonies as a booster in the spring? I know the frames of drawn comb are what I would consider one of the most valuable assets to a beek starting out. So I save those, but what is a safe way to save them so no pests get to them. I closed up the hive, blocked off the entrances, even plugged the inner cover entrance. I shook out all of the bodies I could, many would not come out of the cells, do I just leave them there in the frames?
















 

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Discussion Starter #2
Is this my queen here on the bottom?
I'm not too good at picking them out on a frame or otherwise.

 

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dead bees shrink a bit, looks like a queen to me.

The temps are gonna drop again you can keep the hive outside a bit longer until we are above freezing. In spring give it to a package or nuc, another beekeeper or store away. The honey can be extracted to eat if not crystallized or syrup.
 
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