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First deadout New Jersey

Looking for advice on my deadout hive. I am pretty certain my new queen failed, there was minimal brood and a full deep of honey in this hive in October. Two full boxes of bees. The honey is mostly untouched, brood box cleaned out no eggs or capped anything. All Bees dead at the bottom except for tiny dead cluster on honey. All dead Dry and fluffy. The queen was a replacement they raised after a bear toppled the first queen in may. Very few varroa last count oct. This was a purchased 10 frame hive from a commercial beekeeper in NJ. Do I re use the frames? Do I harvest the honey or do I dare use it for new split or nuc in spring? My other two hives look strong (warm day today in NJ) but are mostly natural comb. Thanks for the advice !

Any photos? How did you count the Varroa (what method)?

Sorry for your loss, would love to help, but I think more information is needed before we can give detailed advice. :cry:

How and when did you count Varroa?

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In October I actually did both the powdered sugar and then the alcohol to see if there was a big difference there wasn’t . This hive had a long break in brood from the bear attack. I didn’t take pictures today but the brood box simply has almost nothing in it. Looks like they cleaned it out and it was never refilled. I thought she was just slow getting started. Maybe just dwindled too small to stay warm thru this bitter winter.

The key to your problem could be your suspicion that the new queen failed in October. The colony probably wasn’t able to raise a lot of fat bees, as I read they do before winter, therefore the aging colony probably just died of old age, rather than exposure. Seeing as your other 2 colonies look strong.

If the bees did die of old age & not disease, there would be nothing wrong with reusing the frames out of that hive.

With spring right on your doorstep, it will be a great opportunity to make a new colony as a swarm prevention strategy for your other 2 colonies in the coming weeks.

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Thank you, I should now start researching best split methods😜
All suggestions gratefully accepted! You guys have been my sounding board and I truly appreciate your time!

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What was the count? The acceptable limit changes depending on time of year: In October, below 2% is desired.

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Have to look for my notes but only two or three at most one hive had none. I know that probably did not mean no mites. One hive is supposed VSH which is why I retested. Did also have one or two in a cup sample.

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I don’t think it would hurt to put the frames in a freezer for 24-48 hours so that if there is any bugs in the frames the below zero temps for that period of time should kill them. I had a hive that absconded in October. I put the frames in the freezer and then have them stored in my garage until spring. I have each deep box wrapped in a garbage bag so nothing can get into the frames. I have two queens ordered and will use these two deep boxes to start two new colonies. Its been below zero most of the last week and has warmed up into the teens(Fahrenheit) today. We have about two months to go before the temps will be back up into the high forties/low fifties and things will begin to bloom again.

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Thanks for the advice will try that!