Here's a good read on dead colonies by Megan Milbraith who spoke at the CSBA Winter Meeting in Greeley, Why did my honey bees die?
https://beeinformed.org/2016/03/08/why- ... -bees-die/
Here's a key for diagnosing why your hive died (necropsy):
http://nybeewellness.org/wp-content/upl ... raft-2.pdf
Lots of good info on the rest of the site too.
If your hive died from varroa/viruses, which it probably did, you can save the equipment for your next bees, but learn about varroa before you get them. Clean out the dead bees and compost/trash them. Take off the entrance reducer (you want air flow to reduce mold) Close up the entrance with metal screen (1/8" or smaller). Close the upper entrance(s) too. You're keeping out the mice and other bees. In spring your new bees will appreciate the honey and drawn comb. They may or may not do anything with stored pollen, but you can try it. If this was a cold weather deadout, there's no need to freeze anything in your freezer. It's a tropical paradise compared to winters here anyway. If there are really moldy combs in spring you can get rid of them, especially pollen. As for the boxes, well, what do you suppose the inside of a hollow tree looks like? That's what propolis is for!
Hope this helps
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