I have a problem that I'd like to get some input on.
It seems every year, my bees leave there hive during late autumn or early winter.
This last year I started with another two pound package of bees in late April.
Our house is on a ridge top, about 800ft elv., in Roseburg, Oregon. Because of the
distance they were required to fly to collect pollen and nectar, I feed them all
year long with C&H sugar water(2:1) to make sure they had enough honey to
get them through the winter.
My last feeding was in early Oct., on a warm autumn day, and the hive was just
jammed with bees. I had added a deep super about July and when that filled, I
added a shallow super in Sept.
Everything seemed fine inside the hive. No real signs of problems. I have a VIZ
stand with the bottom tray and when I pulled it out to see about mites, there
were a few, but not many.
About early December we had a strange warm day and when I looked out to the
hive, I saw no activity. When I opened it up, they were gone.
They left behind probably a dozen full frames of honey and what seems like a fair
amount of pollen cells. The brood comb was maybe ten percent capped, the rest empty.
I finally pulled the hive apart yesterday to get everything ready for the next two
pound box of bees. There was no evidence of critters or anything else wrong.
I did find what looks like queen cells, empty, on the bottom of one of the frames.
The lower box frames has some fungus growing in some areas and even the deep super
has a little.
Is the honey from the super safe to uncap and bottle with minor fungus in some areas?
Can the frames be reused after clean up and a light spray with bleach/water mix?
Could my problem with them leaving be CCD? It happen so late in the year is
why I ask.
If I suspect CCD, is the honey tainted for human or bee consumption?
When I opened the hive yesterday(I had taped all the openings over after I
found them gone)
it took about a half an hour for a bee to find it and start scavaging. I left the
shallow super out yesterday afternoon and sure enough, there were a dozen bees in two hours.
Any advise or thoughts?
And yes, no matter what, I'll still keep raising bees. I just wish I didn't have to start over every year.