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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,384

    Default A friend's hives = no bees?

    I have a friend who ordered two packages of bees, with the same shipment as me, at the start of the season. My hives are going pretty good, except they are a bit light on stores due to drought. One hive is a voracious foraging machine. I check them once a week, and have started feeding them again. I keep a sharp eye on them to prevent robbing, which has been an issue lately, especially with my strong hive. All of my weak hives now have robber screens in place.

    At any rate, my friend checked his bees about a week ago, and even though they were light on stores, he said they were still present and active. He went back again and checked a week later when he noticed a lack of bee activity. Both hives were totally empty, and ants had moved in eating what was left of the brood and honey. He is convinced they both absconded. I think they got robbed out.

    It seems odd to me that two completely different hives would abscond at the same time, even though they are sited near each other. It seems far more likely they were robbed out by a stronger hive in the area (hopefully not mine).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: A friend's hives = no bees?

    Sometimes they run out of food and don't see any reason to stay. Assuming a dearth it would not be unusual for both to run out near the same time.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,384

    Default Re: A friend's hives = no bees?

    If you ask me, his hives should have built up more than they were. He said he only had about four frames of bees and brood and maybe a frame of honey in each hive. My weakest hive (not counting the one that a bear got into) has just about filled it's 8 frame box and is well on it's way having a second box added. It was queenless for nearly two months and was reduced to a single brood frame and some honey-comb. I ran a virgin queen in about a month back and they have really taken off.

    I would think his hives should have progressed much further than that since May, when we both started them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: A friend's hives = no bees?

    Do you think they had no forage? Or the queens were just no good? Either is possible. The bees can't make something out of nothing.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: A friend's hives = no bees?

    I've had a lot of trouble with spring queens this year. Ended drone up layers or were superceded. Others seem to have had issues as well. (so I've read) A weak hive in a dearth is wide open to robbing. It does not take long to wipe the hive out. Just a possibility.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,384

    Default Re: A friend's hives = no bees?

    I am pretty sure they were robbed out, but he does not seem to agree with that assumption.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,487

    Default Re: A friend's hives = no bees?

    Many possibilities. What is the condition of the comb? Robbed hives often have the comb ripped apart from the feeding frenzy -- if it's pristine but empty, they either died off or absconded.

    Give the weather this year in that part of the country, if he wasn't feeding properly they may have just died out from lack of forage. Lots of people are feeding that normally have no problems.

    If they were robbed out, keep an eye out for swams in the spring, likely there are some strong hives nearby!

    Peter

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