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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Fall Branch, TN
    Posts
    33

    Default Bees gone! What to do?

    Checked my hives a couple of weeks ago and everything was fine. Bees everywhere near the hives last week when I mowed. Checked again yesterday and they're gone! This is only my second year and I have 2 hives. One was completely empty. The other had maybe 50-100 bees in it. No queen. I looked and found only a half dozen or so dead bees under the hive. The frames all look fine, nothing out of the ordinary that I can tell. Actually, I have about 8 frames loaded with capped honey. Took the hives all apart looking for anything out of the ordinary and didn't find anything. They ONLY thing I found was 1 yellow jacket in the completely empty hive. Needless to say I'm heartbroken

    So I've decided to try again and ordered some more bees. Although I don't know what to do with the hives. Do I just leave them as they are and add the new bees or do I need to start with clean, new foundations? Do I leave some of the honey frames? Will the capped frames "go bad" if I just leave them waiting on the new bees? Any and all advice is appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Bees gone! What to do?

    Take samples of what you have left, bees, and brood comb and send the samples to the USDA Bee Lab. The service is free and may give you an idea of what went wrong.
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=7472
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    782

    Default Re: Bees gone! What to do?

    You may want to call Mike Studer, the State Apiarist, for guidance. He may want to come take a look or send someone. His email is Mike.Studer@tn.gov and his office number is 615.837.5342. Good luck w/ the new packages. -James Wagner

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Panama City, Florida, USA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Bees gone! What to do?

    Were these new hives started this year or overwintered hives? Was there capped or uncapped brood left behind? Any pollen left in the frames?

    If they were new this year they may have absconded from being annoyed (mowing, skunks, mice, etc. Lack of brood in any form would mean an abscond as there was none to hold them back. If brood was left behind it is more unusual. Plenty of honey and no pollen could mean they left for lack of pollen. On overabundance of yellow jackets could cause them to abscond also as could stress from mites.

    If you have pollen present wax moths will ruin the left behind frames. SHB can be an issue a little later in your area. Also may be robbed out by bees or other critters.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Fall Branch, TN
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Bees gone! What to do?

    These hives were overwintered. I don't know how the bees view pollen but their hives are coated in yellow along with everything else right now. All my fruit trees are in bloom as well as an abundance of redbuds in the area so I wouldn't think pollen to be lacking but I am a newbie. I'm going to check more closely tonight but I'm pretty sure there was brood when I checked. I was so distraught I wasn't looking that closely for the brood. I only saw the one yellow jacket. I've contacted the State Apiarist as suggested and am awaiting a response. Hopefully it's nothing that I'll have to destroy the hives over.

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