In summer 2012 I was fortunate enough to get two complete hives. I have been reading all I can and this is what I can tell you.
When I checked the hives this is what I observed......
1. The foundations were all pretty much drawn out, with honey, larvae, and newly laid eggs. All seemed fine.
2. I moved the hives to our property which was in the middle of alfalfa, potato, corn, and mustard fields.
3. Water was available
4. I arranged it so no ants would invade
5. I did not observe any pests (mice, roaches, wasps, mites, moths, etc.)
After I had them on the property for about 1 month a commercial company placed about 50 hives not more than 100' from my hives. Then about 2 weeks later another commercial group placed another 30 hives on the other side of the field to the east. Again not long after a third placed about 10 hives to the east.
I noticed that at night and in the evenings many of the hives right next to mine had what would look like swarm cells on the boxes. I dont think they were swarm cells because it was late in the summer but I dont know. I did take a peek in one of his boxes and it looked crowed?
I was finally stung and found out that I am allergic and had to go the emergency room.
With this in mind I observed from a distance more often than opening the box.
I noticed what looked like robbing (a few fights ensuing) so I reduced the entrance.
One day I went out and the box was empty. No bees, no dead, no honey, no larvae, nothing but a few random wanders?
Did they get overrun by the other hives or can anyone give me an idea what may have happened. Even though I am allergic I dont want to give it up.