I have been keeping bees since March 2006 so I am still a pretty new keeper. My schedule keeps me pretty busy so I don't get to the bee keeper meetings in Memphis and I don't have a mentor either. I adopted a pretty laid back management style last year because in my first full year I checked them often with very few tangeble results except that I disturbed them regularly. That is to say that all my checks really did very little for the bees. I find it rather difficult to open the bees with my flimsy gloves/screen hat in the searing Memphis heat/humidy to keep the burr comb scaped off so my boxes are pretty cloged up, but I digress.
I have 2 hives....my first hive started as a single deep in March 06 and built up well last year ('07). I added a second hive in '07 that did real well (5 gallons) this year. My first hive however swarmed on April 19 of this year and produced a really small crop of honey. On August 7 2008 I just left the honey with the first hive since I was pretty worn out extracting all the honey from the 2nd strong hive in my hand crank plastic extractor. Between August 15 and Sep 22 2008 the first hive really went down hill. I noticed few/decreasing bees at the entrance and a real lack of activity. I did not open them and just let them go, not really knowing what to do.
To make matters much worse...One evening around Sep 1st 2008 I noticed a moth fly out of the entrance and the hive smelled of decaying wax, moth damage and brown wax crumbs were seen piling up near the entrance. Completely dejected over this hopeless situation I did nothing -planning to clean them up when cooler weather arrived in October.
Amazingly on Sep 22 somehow bees returned to the hive! There is a lot of activity at the entrance now. For the past 2 evenings I have noticed ugly brown/black moths about 1.25 inches big on the outside of the hive with very good activity at the entrance. These bees put away a quart of 50/50 feed today.
So what do you all think happened?
A) The strong hive robbed the weak hive and I still don't have a queen.
B) The Weak hive needed time to hatch a new queen.
C) The strong hive swarmed in the current goldenrod flow and moved into the weak hive and is kicking out the wax moths.
Cheers to All!
PS: The 2 hives are only a few feet away from each other.