I started bee keeping last spring so I'm still new to everything. It was all going great, especially since we had such a hard long winter here. (Since Nov it's been in the 20's down to minus -35) I thought for sure if I was gonna loose them it was gonna be during that cold stint. They survived, quite well, as I've seen them take flight lately. They were fine 6 days ago, I could here them buzzing inside quite loud. Then 2 days ago I noticed that there was gravel on their entrance way, ( they sit on cinder blocks which sits on top of a small gravel patch), how does gravel get up there unless you have some wicked winds, or maybe something trying to get into it. (We have been having skunk problem lately) I heard no buzzing that day, checked yesterday, found some honey coming out from the front, again no buzzing. This morning no buzzing, so I popped the lid and everyone has died inside. I pulled some frames everything looks fine. Looks like they traveled good thru the hive during winter, have lots of honey left still. Pollen, looks like she has started to lay, there's a large spand of bees inside, they cover about 3 frames, then there's more bees here and there through out the hive. Everything looks normal, but they've all died? Our weather is still cold but the last few days we have broke into the high 30's but still dive down to the minuses at night. Could condensation develop in this swing weather? Now my questions...
So if I want to start again do I just clean out the old and put in another new package? Anything special I should do before I add them? Will they just pick up where the last ones left off? What should I do with the hive, frames of honey etc between now and getting the new bees which won't be until very late April early May.
If I take a year off and don't get another package, how should I store eveything for a year. What should I do with the frames of honey? Could another bee keeper take advantage of using these frames for their hive this year?
Thanks everyone, I've learned alot over this year, so even though they didn't make it, alot was to be gained from this. To find good out of it, it helps me be able to change a few things I've learned over the last year...and I'll have the "new book" to read.