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Author Topic: Empty Hive  (Read 906 times)

Offline PhilK

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Empty Hive
« on: July 26, 2017, 01:08:54 am »
Moved a hive from one location to another in May. Inspected it in June and it wasn't doing the best - bit slower than the other hive, so gave them three full frames of honey from a stronger hive next door.

Two days ago we were taking some honey off the stronger hives near this one and decided to crack the lid and see how they were going. Totally empty - not a bee in sight, no dead bees, no larvae or brood at all. Honey still in the super and pollen still in the brood frames. Few beetles had moved in but it wasn't slimed or anything.

Very confused, as I know this can happen but we've never had it occur. I assume maybe the queen died and they couldn't replace her so they absconded? Or absconded for another reason? Any ideas?

Offline eltalia

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Re: Empty Hive
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2017, 06:49:09 am »
Was it doing ok before the move Phil...or?

It is unusual for this time of year, for sure.
Buuut if the colony was stressed coming through 'winter' and a
better deal was found after the move...?..likely a mass evacuation.
You're not mentioning any sign of old partial queen cells or
abnormal amounts of drone cells so I presume these were not
present on inspection?


Cheers.

Bill

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Empty Hive
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2017, 08:33:38 am »
It happens quite often. My observation hive did it about a month ago. They were as strong as can bee. They left behind a hive full of brood and lots of honey and did it during a flow. There were so many hatching bees that I was able to move half of the brood into a Nuc and save them. They even had 2 queen cups with just hatched larvae in them. They were probably eggs when they left. I was expecting this hive to swarm and watching for queen cells when they absconded. The queen and her mother were very strong egg layers.
These bees broke all of the rules.
I suspect you hive had the classic signs of CCD.
Jim

Offline PhilK

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Re: Empty Hive
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 09:22:49 pm »
Was it doing ok before the move Phil...or?

It is unusual for this time of year, for sure.
Buuut if the colony was stressed coming through 'winter' and a
better deal was found after the move...?..likely a mass evacuation.
You're not mentioning any sign of old partial queen cells or
abnormal amounts of drone cells so I presume these were not
present on inspection?


Cheers.

Bill
They were doing fine before the move, nothing unusual noted except maybe a little slower than their neighbouring hives.
There were a handful of queen cups but none appear to have been built out into queen cells, and no drone cells that I could see.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Empty Hive
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 10:58:19 pm »
Phil,
Check the queen cups closely for eggs. I was surprised to find larvae in the cups.
Jim

Offline eltalia

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Re: Empty Hive
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 12:34:42 am »
I reckon this one falls into that

"Or absconded for another reason? Any ideas?"

area...an' no idea why, sorry.
Assuming it is robbed out by now the option to reduce back to a  7 frame box, adding the best of original combs and a queen plus bees from another colony, is one way forward. Don't forget to place a queen restrictor at the entrance.
 
Come September you should be able to source a reputable queenline for the colony you make queenless.
Whilst we had no winter this year Spring is upon us so the bees gave that going for them :-)

Cheers.

Bill