>I too lost a hive - but there's plenty of honey/syrup in the brood combs. Isn't it taking a chance that you may pass on whatever killed the bees?
The only contagious thing I'd worry about at ALL is AFB. Mites are the likely culprit and they will all be dead already.
>After considering everybody's opinion, I like to think that my bees died from the effects of varroa. But that doesn't mean they didn't die from something contagious.
AFB doesn't kill bees, it kills brood, which, in the end, kills the hive.
> Although very tempted to keep the honey to feed bees, I was planning to destroy it along with the combs and thouroughly disinfect with my blow torch.
What eveidence do you have that it was AFB? If you really don't feel compenent to diagnose and are afraid of AFB, you can send a piece of comb in (look for some old brood) to Beltsville for FREE and they will tell you if there is any AFB. Send some of the bees as well and they will try to diagnose it:http://www.ba.ars.usda.gov/psi/brl/directs.htm
It's just a waste to destroy perfectly good comb.