UPDATE...... Some of you may remember my panic at finding a dead queen in front of my first and only hive last Thanksgiving. Here was the thread of that traumatic event: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1328 Today was in the 50's and sunny- a beautiful day. Still no sign of life from my hive, that had a queen die in late November, so I decided it was time to go in and see what there was to be seen. Sure enough my only hive was dead as a doornail. :cry: Luckily, I had ordered two new colonies back in January, just to be safe, so I can now look forward to them arriving first week of May. Hopefully they will arrive in good shape with healthy live queens. So I dismantled my whole two deep hive with its 18 deep frames. There did not appear to be any signs of disease. Not a sign of any dead brood at all. There were only about 600-800 dead bees in various places in the hive, with a couple of egg sized dead clusters but no queens in them. Maybe one in thirty bees had a single dead varroa, and not that many dead mites on the bottom board. No deformed wings, no streaky diarrhea anywhere, no gooey stuff in cells, no nibbled areas of comb, no other signs of pests. Everyone just looked like they died while doing normal things. No bees had their heads in the cells, and there was a TON of honey and bee bread etc fairly evenly distributed all over between the two deeps. I think the hive died in late December after their queen died in late November and the workers all got older, so they just didn't get to eat most of what was stored. There were at least 6 deep heavy frames packed full of solid honey, and the rest of the frames had varying amounts of pollen and honey stored nicely. I think they just died of old age without a queen. Once I had all 18 frames out, I scraped the three old hive bodies down (I had an extra 3rd deep with empty old comb frames too, stored away). First, I took the 8 older deep frames with old empty comb on them, and those I put into the worst of the 3 old deep boxes, the one that was stapled solidly to an old bottom board. I added an old telescope top to that and now I have a great swarm lure box to set up soon. I have some fresh lemongrass oil and some bee pheromone coming in the mail as well. :thumbsup: Then, I put 9 honey/pollen laden frames into each of the other two old deeps, and bagged each deep hive body with honey frames separately in heavy duty contractor plastic bags and sealed them up stacked in my basement where mice cannot get to them. When my two new bee colonies come, I will use these full frames to feed them and give them a head start. Way better than feeding sugar syrup! I will be installing the new bees into brand new frames and hive boxes. I was happy to see a few neighborhood honeybees checking out the honey frames while I was doing all this. That means my hopes of attracting a local swarm this year as well might be possible. I saw no other types of bees or wasps at all, just a housefly and about 30 honeybees interested in the 'goods' laid out where I was working. There were many honeybees in my garden when we first moved in here 7 years ago. Then a couple of years went by without my seeing any- just bumblebees and mason bees on our flowering crab apple tree and on the blue sage. So it did my heart good to see some honeybee action so early today, way before any blooms at all here. I wondered where those bees were living. It felt so nice to have them humming around me with the promise of renewed life as I worked on the frames and hive bodies...like they were saying "Hey, good job, nice place you got there!". I also realize I got those terrific honey stores out of there and stored safely just before they may have wound up on the 'grand neighborhood robbing buffet table'. Now to wait a few more weeks till 'bee time' arrives. This is the longest winter I can ever remember!