How do I clean out hives

Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

We just checked our hives and all our bees are dead. The winter has been mild compared to the ones they have survived. When we put them to bed in November, they were healthy and mite free. They didn't starve; there was still honey in the supers. They just all died.

Ever the optimist, I want to put out new bees as soon as the weather warms, but I'm not sure how to clean out the old hives and supers. I imagine that they should be sterilized as well. Any advice?

Forestville, NY

All you have to do is take the hive apart to remove the dead bees. Put back together, hive a new colony of bees they will do the rest. If your worried about diseases you can replace the frames and foundations and scorch the rest of the hive with a torch and repaint. I donít think your hive was disease , what I think happen is there might have not been enough ventilation and the co2 built up and the suffocated. To tell if you have poor ventilation check for moister on the inner cover or the hive top. If there no moister, smell the hive if it smell's funny look for mold, if mold is present then scorch the hive parts with mold on them, to destroy the spores.

This message was edited Mar 8, 2010 5:24 AM

Liberty, PA(Zone 5a)

I'm sorry for your loss. If there wasn't enough ventilation, they could have been rained on through condensation inside the hive, that will definitely kill them.
Did you have the inner cover cranked open a bit in winter?

Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

No, I think he had it sealed to tightly. He made new covers this year. The old ones were looser.
Now I have to find new bees.

Pickens, SC(Zone 7a)

Your climate is much different than mine.
Condensation can be a killer so ventilation is important.

Did you find alot of bees dead with their heads stuck in the cells and only little bee butts showing ?
If so, they starved, bees can starve even when there is alot of honey in the hive. A prolonged cold spell... sometimes the cluster just wont move to the honey. If they starved... there is no need to steralize your equipment.

Good luck

Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

Some of the bees had their butts out, but there was honey all around them and it was an extreamly mild winter.

Wild bees that I am sure are offshoots of ours are stealing all the honey out of the hives now. I wish I could find where they are going. I've tried to follow, but my eyes aren't as good as they used to be. We are trying to find some nuke boxes now to start over. It's not easy after all the CDC this year. Most of the big producer that move their hives had serious losses and aren't selling.

I'll hate not having hives, but at least I know there are wild bees to pollinate.

Forestville, NY

I donít know if this work but I pick this up from other forums. To locate a hive just take some honey put it in a jar let them feed on it then fellow them for until you lose them put the jar down an wait till they start feeding on it again then repeat the process till you find the hive. But I must worn you may be doing this all day and you might find out their somebody else bee. If you need more bee you could get a package or you could always find beekeeper in your area who will sell you a few frames from a hive he/she has, just make sure they will and before you go get then make sure you have a queen if they can't provide one.

Pickens, SC(Zone 7a)

If there are no nucs in your area.... why not order a package and have it delivered ? At least you already have the drawn comb !

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