Checked one of my yards yesterday and found one hive totally empty. This was one of my stronger colonies, so this is a disappointment. This was a new package this spring on all new equipment. I'm running all mediums, and this one had filled four boxes plus another super of surplus honey. I did no treatments. I did not do a mite count prior to buttoning things up for the winter.
No signs of robbing, all of the honey was still capped. Several sections of pollen packed away, and the brood spaces on comb was nearly empty. There were a handful of still-capped brood. There were a couple dozen dead bees on the bottom board.
From all appearances the hive was ready for winter...except there are no bees.
The other two colonies on this site appear to be in good shape for winter, and there was activity outside those hives yesterday.
All of my yards are on native prairies sites. This one the landowner did a modest fall burn (only several hundred square feet) that came within ten yards of the hive on one side.
Could the burn have convinced the bees to abscond? Or could this be colony collapse disorder?
I know bees do what they please...and this one has me mystified. Any insight?