Hi, this is my third try at raising bees. I stay busy outdoors with raising poultry, gardening, working horses, milking cows, and doing it all organically. Raising the bees has been the most puzzling. I had no idea there could be so many things to do with the bees. I thought it was buying them and pretty much that was it. I've lost the bees every year. The first year was my own mistake. I opened the wrong end of the queen cage and off she flew. I didn't realize then I could've ordered another queen. The queen came back and took all the bees. Last year I tried a top feeder along with the small feeder that comes with the start up kit. I needed something different because there were nectar flies along with my bees eating the syrup and they would empty the feeder in an hour. Once I put the top feeder in I had fireant problems, and then the nectar flies found their way in, so the colony was getting weaker. I didn't realize it was so bad until there were wax moths. Yes, that was the end of that colony.
This year I fed with a bucket feeder, had the queen marked and wings clipped, I also fed them brood starter. They were growing well. Until last week. One day they were there and the next they were gone. I checked the hive and they had been hatching out new bees the frames were filled out but all the honey was gone. When I removed the frames I could see on the underside of the bottom of the hive three black widows. Could this be the cause of abonment? I did make sure the hive was in the shade all day. I did notice some bearding off and on for two weeks but it wasn't nearly as bad as some of the pictures on the posts.
I will try again next year. I would really like some advice. Why would the bees leave?