My bees died this winter. I suspected the colony was dead/dying because there was a build up of dead bees outside the hive and in the floor of the hive. When they didn’t start flying in the spring I peered in the top of the hive and there was no activity. I’ve been quite busy and away with work a bit so I only picked the hive up and brought it home today. I haven’t taken the combs out of the boxes yet but looking at the comb from underneath the boxes they are very mouldy. Today I’ve read that a hive left without bees will go mouldy so it seems leaving it so long was a school boy error.
I want to try to work out what has killed the bees and will look more closely when I take the top bars out with the attached comb in the next couple of days. So far I have dead bees outside and inside the hive on the floor and mouldy comb to go by. I suppose mould could have started whilst there were still bees and perhaps there was too much moisture in the hive. The bees don’t have deformed wings and look normal.
My question is ….
Is it safe to harvest honey from mouldy comb using the cut and drain method? It seems like the crush and strain method will lead to a lot of mould getting in the honey. Even with the cut and drain method the honey is going to be in contact with the mould.
I, too, lost bees in 2 hives, and the honey combs were mouldy. I do not plan on processing, but will leave them for swarm bait and in with the replacement package bees instead of sugar water.
A waste, to be sure — but I had activity in those hives at the end of January!!
Personally, I wouldn’t harvest the honey. I’d do as Eddy Radar suggests and give it to a colony to clean up/use. If you plan on getting more bees, they’d probably appreciate the boost.