Our bees are totally gone. They left some honey in the flow super which I drained mostly. What steps do I need to take before introducing a new colony?
Do a thourough inspection, take pics and post on here. For all your bees to have gone you might have an underlying issue so the inspection and assessment is the best idea I can provide but pictures of frames, comb, inside of hive, floor board will help for more advice.
I lost one of two hives over winter and have cleaned the full hive fully, flamed the wood inside, resealed outside and replaced all the brood frames with new.
Thanks for the quick response. Here are some pictures. I am new to bees and know very little. The frames in the brood box look very dark, but there were only a couple dead bees and a couple roaches. The frames in the flowhive box look normal. Appreciate any feedback. Mostly concerned about how to prepare for new nuc if I can still get one.
As your beginning in bee keeping my advice is to find an experienced bee keeper and have them look thru the hive for any issue to work out why the colony absconded. I don’t know your climate but guessing your coming into Spring and maybe the swarming season but I’m not suspecting the absconding is a result of the weather.
If the hive has a health issue just adding a new nuc colony could lead to you loosing them too.
I think general clean up would be a good idea while you have this opportunity.
Remove old comb from frames. It looks quite dark to be useful for another season or two.
Drain honey from flow frames and clean them. Pressure washer is a good help in such situations.
Soak all cleaned frames in bleach solution 1 cup (8oz) of bleach per gallon of water for 5 minutes.
Wash hive itself with the same ratio bleach solution but add detergent to it as a wetting agent. 1 tea spoon per half a gallon would be sufficient. Let it stay wet for 5 minutes.
Rinse everything well with water and let it dry.
Use required PPE during the process of course.
Not sure if you want use this opportunity to sand and paint hive outside for preservation and aesthetic reasons.
From your pictures I would guess that ROBBING might be the cause and the bees have been stressed and left for a new home the clean patchy brood comb is why I say that but just my thoughts.
How often were you inspecting?
Mystery now so it’s a good old clean up. The dark brood frames how old are they. Dark brood isn’t an issue it’s mainly due to the higher activity and debri. I would replace the patchy ones though.
Flow frames up to you looking at them id keep them as they are and add to the new colony the bees will clean it up and draining you might have a higher water content as only parcialy capped.
Petes advice of a mentor or local club for help is really the best advice.