I have 2 hives. We had a 43 degree day forecast on 2-1-2014 and we went out to have a look. Both hives had honey stores and sugar brick back ups. Both hives were eating at the sugar bricks, we closed em up and headed home. The temps dropped again down to the single digits until just recently. So I headed out to the farm today (2-20-2014) and found both hives with no bees flying around. Opened up what I would call the weaker hive and it was filled with dead bees over an inch high or better on the screen bottom board. The screen bottom board was completely caked with bees and such along with the entrance. There were bees dead in their tracks like they all died in the middle of doing normal things. Looked like a twilight zone episode to me. There is no other source of air besides the sbb and entrance. Both blocked and everyone is dead. Any disagreement on cause of death?
I took each frame, brushed out every dead bee I could, dumped the screen bottom board out and put the hive back together with entrance closed.. I cant pick up til Saturday because it is probably a half mile to the hives in 10" deep wet melting snow. I walked to them today gear in hand and there was no way I was carrying back a deep and medium through that.
Any thoughts on re-using the comb and honey that is left after I freeze it? I have packages coming and they could use a good start. There are still some dead bees head first in some comb.
Also.. I popped the top of the other hive and it has lots of live bees. I then pulled the entrance reducer off and bees started filing out. There were loads of dead bees in the bottom board as well so I found a stick and swept them out the best I could. I also left the entrance reducer off figuring it would help the clean up effort.. Have I dodged a bullet for this hive? Time will tell I guess. Thoughts?