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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    New Bern, NC USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Bees left and then came back

    I'm coming up on "our" two year anniversary. Last winter( '15-'16) my spring package made it well. I even harvested 7 lbs of honey. Spring of 2016 things seemed great and we were doing fine. Fall 2016 I harvested another 6-7 lbs. Both harvests I left about 4 combs of honey.

    This has been a very mild Jan-Feb. first of Feb. my bees were out and about big time, then a week later...Nothing. I went into the hive to find it deserted. Only a dozen bees alive, and about 30 dead. All combs were drained of everything.
    I had planned on installing a new package, but never ordered one. Then Last week I saw Bees again. Just a few at first, then a lot. This morning they were clustering on the outside.
    I just went inside to find about 15 combs full of bees and they are flying in like mad, with a little pollen. I put some honey in the top of they hive, for them to feed on. I plan to give them more this week.

    So. What happened??? My Rooky theory is...My bees ran out of food, (yes I'm feeling guilty), and left. Now a Swam has taken up residence in the hive.

    Theory no. two. My bees went to Florida on vacation for three weeks.

    What say you?

    Thanks for all opinions,
    KW

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Parthenon, Ar,USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    Did they have little travel stickers on their luggage?

    No, you probably got it right with option A.
    Neill
    Herbhome Farm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
    Posts
    404

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    Is it the old queen? That would be interesting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    What a great catch! It's worth seeing if you can find a reason for the bees that absconded. It can be too much shade, too much messing with, too many ants, mites, SHB, too drafty - not saying any of those things are the case! But if you put yourself in your bee's shoes, can you see something that was uncomfortable for them?

    Good luck to the swarm! We are a month away here, and winter comes and goes. Some days are 60, some are 30. Sometimes it's the next day that it's 30. Ohio is a rollercoaster some years.

    Carry on!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
    Posts
    2,166

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    If you'd named them all you'd know if it's the same bees.

    Marked queen?

    Pretty sure you got a swarm.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,117

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    If I only got 6-7 lbs of honey I would say I didn't get any honey. Something is wrong.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    724

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    Maybe they were robbed, I keep a robber guard on my top entrance and a reduced ( 1 1/2 inch ) on the bottom. Also feeding honey can bring the robbers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    New Bern, NC USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    Quote Originally Posted by texanbelchers View Post
    Is it the old queen? That would be interesting.
    TO BEE honest, I never saw this queen. In the beginning, I looked but never found her. They built up so fast and there were so many eggs/larvae, I knew she was doing good. Couple of moths into it they would get agitated quick, so I never went deep into the brood combs.

    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post
    What a great catch! It's worth seeing if you can find a reason for the bees that absconded. It can be too much shade, too much messing with, too many ants, mites, SHB, too drafty - not saying any of those things are the case! But if you put yourself in your bee's shoes, can you see something that was uncomfortable for them?


    Good luck to the swarm! We are a month away here, and winter comes and goes. Some days are 60, some are 30. Sometimes it's the next day that it's 30. Ohio is a rollercoaster some years.
    Carry on!
    I never knew bees had shoes? gotta start looking at them better.. The hive is quite tight I don't think draft is an issue. There are some ants but they are usually between the viewing window and the cover. I look closely at them when I visit, looking for mites, haven't seen any. I really think my issue was I didn't check this year early and make sure they had food.
    Thanks, they got a relatively clean home with 16 or so combs built out for them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan the bee guy View Post
    If I only got 6-7 lbs of honey I would say I didn't get any honey. Something is wrong.
    Dan, I didn't ever think they had honey like they should have. I heard the local keepers were saying they had a bad year also. Fall of '15 I figured it was a new colony thing.

    Thanks for all the replies.
    KW

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,117

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    Hopefully the bees in the swarm are better than the bees that left.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    724

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    The fact they got agitated fast after a couple of months may be the key to what happened, mine get that way during the effort to replace the queen that may have run out of sperm, after the new queen is mated and laying, they calm down, but sometimes the queen doesn't make it back to the hive, and I have to re-queen or lose the colony.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Burlington Michigan
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    sounds like your hive went queenless and the bees all died out and then a swarm moved in ....empty hives make excellent swarm traps

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,648

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    It would be a good idea to continue feeding your new swarm for a month or so, or, until there are bees on all the frames and you add another super.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
    Posts
    2,166

    Default Re: Bees left and then came back

    Next time you got pissy bees dig a little and find out why. Ten to one the hive was queenless, tried making a new one, and failed.
    If you had a second hive the cure would have been as simple as finding a frame with eggs and swapping it into the pissy one.

    If I got a pissy hive that's a signal to harvest some queen cell frame(s) for a "justin case" nuc or two or queen castle.
    By justin case I mean in case your queen never makes it back. You can triple your odds of success and if one fails combine with one that did not.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

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