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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Grand Junction,Colorado, USA
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    18

    Question Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    I have 2 top-bar hives, started last Spring from swarms. One produced more honey than brood and the other more brood than honey( I transferred some honey from the rich hive to the relatively honey-poor hive prior to winter). They both appeared healthy going into winter. The one with more brood survived our unusually bitter unrelentingly cold Colorado winter and is now vigorous, though a bit low on honey stores. The honey-rich hive is empty--no dead bees, still with 4 or 5 full combs of capped honey, some part honey/part empty combs, and empty brood combs in the middle (side entrance hive) with just a few scattered capped brood cells.

    2 questions: 1. Is this CCD? 2. Is it safe to transfer a comb or 2 of honey to the live hive or could there be some disease vector in the honey?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,272

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Not CCD, as the symptoms are a small patch of brood and bees with queen are left in the hive.

    I would transfer the frames of stores to the remaining hive, it will give them some stores to work from in building up spring populations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    867

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    I have seen the same thing. I have 2 nucs sitting next to each other. In December both were strong. Now one is good and the other is empty with 5 frames of capped honey. When I looked last weekend there was a patch of capped brood and not a single bee in the hive. Looked like someone hit it with a bee vac. Have 3 full size hives and one of those did the same thing. Mabye not CCD but what would make a hive abscond on a mild day in the middle of winter? All hives were treated exactly the same and come from local swarms.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Orkney,Scotland
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Quote Originally Posted by LaReine View Post

    2 questions: 1. Is this CCD? 2. Is it safe to transfer a comb or 2 of honey to the live hive or could there be some disease vector in the honey?
    Yes, it is CCD if most of the bees disappeared suddenly.Sometimes the queen is still there, sometimes not.Don't feed the rest of the honey to other bees, as it might still have neonicotinoids in it, which caused the problem in the first place.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,955

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Quote Originally Posted by johnthefarmer View Post
    Yes, it is CCD if most of the bees disappeared suddenly.
    Note that every single post to Beesource made by johnthefarmer is about CCD (or neonics). Is that the sign of a one-track mind, or what?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    454

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    You already gave honey from the dead hive last fall and the second hive is still doing well so I don't think you should worry about transferring honey now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    If you had two hives sitting right next to one another they both fed on the same flowers. It cant be ccd. Maybe it had a heavy mite load in the fall and they absconded?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Grand Junction,Colorado, USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Thank you for the replies. It certainly would be very convenient to be able to just drop a comb full of honey into the hive, not to mention being more nutritious than sugar. So there is a strong temptation to think of reasons to go ahead and do this, despite the fact that the safest course would be to not do it. JD makes a good case that since I fed honey from the dead hive last fall and the bees are doing well, then it should be okay, especially since it is unlikely that they contracted something fatal after autumn. BeeManiac makes good sense and I have been thinking the same thing, since the hives both contained local wild type bees and foraged in the same area. Regarding neonicotinoids, there are no commercial farms anywhere near me.

    And I have some reason to doubt this is really CCD. This was not a case of some or most of the bees leaving--this is a case of ALL the bees leaving. There is essentially no capped brood (I could count the caps on my fingers and toes). It really looks like the queen just said, "let's get outta here" and they absconded. There are differences in the hives, too--the empty hive got less solar warming during the winter, and it had a side entrance while the surviving hive had an end entrance. Michael Bush has this to say about side entrances:

    "The main reason for a front entrance is that it prevents the cluster from being in the center with honey on both sides of it, which is a bad configuration going into winter. A hive in a cold climate will likely work it's way to one end, leaving stores at the other end and if a warm snap doesn't allow them to relocate to the end with stores, they will starve there."

    So perhaps they were just too cold and starved.

    I read that hives with CCD will not be robbed. I will do an experiment and open it up tomorrow during the warm part of the day and see if robbing occurs.

    Bees sure are interesting!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,044

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Quote Originally Posted by johnthefarmer View Post
    Yes, it is CCD if most of the bees disappeared suddenly.Sometimes the queen is still there, sometimes not.Don't feed the rest of the honey to other bees, as it might still have neonicotinoids in it, which caused the problem in the first place.
    It's a long ways from Orkney, Scotland to Grand Junction, Colorado one of the most stunningly beautiful places in the USA.
    http://images.search.yahoo.com/searc...ction+colorado
    Your diagnosis from afar is without any basis whatsoever and does nothing more than to confuse a person who came here with a legitimate question and concern. As I said before to you, it would be nice if you would actually enter a beekeeping discussion on here. What you and Stromnessbee are currently doing here is little more than trolling and adds nothing to the discussion on this forum.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,044

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Quote Originally Posted by LaReine View Post
    I read that hives with CCD will not be robbed. I will do an experiment and open it up tomorrow during the warm part of the day and see if robbing occurs.

    Bees sure are interesting!
    I wouldn't be too hasty in drawing much of a conclusion initially from a lack of robbing as that has a lot to do with how many hives are nearby and whether there is anything else for the bees to work on nearby. It's not unusual to see bees ignore some honey in a hive until it has been opened and exposed. However once they get the scent, look out.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Grand Junction,Colorado, USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Thanks for the advice, Jim, and also thanks for the praise for our hometown. BTW, my spouse has been to Orkney and says it's not too shabby either.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Winthrop, WA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    So when is the last time you noticed they were in the hive? Just curious.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,272

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    One oldtime way to see if there is a flow on or not in your area, is to hang a honey filled comb from a hive from a tree branch and keep watch on it. If bees rob it out, then you are not having a nectar flow. If the bees ignore it, then you are in a good nectar flow. Setting out your frames for the bees to rob will only tell if you are in a nectar flow or not. It won't tell anything about CCD.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,029

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Sounds to me like the now vacant hive, lost their queen (or had a failing queen) in late Summer/early Autumn, the beekeeper didn't notice (though it seems you did, since you mentioned they had more honey than brood) and their wasn't sufficient brood to produce a population of Winter bees, and the remaining Summer bees dwindled away during the Winter.

    Instead of just giving some of the one hives honey to the more populous one (I count brood as bee bodies, too), you could have also given the less broody hive some of the other hives brood, or better yet, requeened them.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Orkney,Scotland
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    9

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    One oldtime way to see if there is a flow on or not in your area, is to hang a honey filled comb from a hive from a tree branch and keep watch on it. If bees rob it out, then you are not having a nectar flow. If the bees ignore it, then you are in a good nectar flow. Setting out your frames for the bees to rob will only tell if you are in a nectar flow or not. It won't tell anything about CCD.
    This is not correct.Even if there is a heavy nectar flow the bees will still collect honey if it's easy to get. After all it's already converted to winter food!
    If the hive doesn't get robbed for a prolonged period of time it is a very strong indication for CCD and neonic contamination.
    Check your area for orchards, golf courses and parks, where neonic lawn treatments and drenches might have been used.
    If only one of your colonies is affected it was most likely the strongest one, which was bound to forage further afield, so the neonic source is probably a few miles away.
    Just because others do not want to recognize the neonic problem it doesn't mean that it isn't the biggest reason for colony losses just now.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,272

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    John says... This is not correct.Even if there is a heavy nectar flow the bees will still collect honey if it's easy to get. After all it's already converted to winter food!

    So sorry to see you making such foolish statements, it is now oh-so obvious that you are not an experienced beekeeper in any way. I must say that now you have actually inserted both your feet into your mouth. That's good, maybe you'll now learn to keep that mouth shut until you actually have something worthwhile to say and contribute to future discussions here in the forums.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,196

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    It's a long ways from Orkney, Scotland to Grand Junction, Colorado one of the most stunningly beautiful places in the USA.
    Grand Junction, corn as far as the eye can see! A neonic paradise!
    Regards, Barry

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,425

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    I would say, don't breed from the queen that didn't make it. Breed from the other one instead.

    Deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    Here is another possibility. This happened to us last year. We had two roughly equal strength nucs that were moved next to each other for wintering. Most of the bees from one nuc drifted into the other nuc. This created a weak nuc and a very strong nuc. The queen stayed in the weak nuc with a small population of bees. She over wintered and rebuilt her poppulation the next year. In the case of the TBHs could the one have lost its queen and the bees drifted to the queen rignt colony.
    Dave

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,042

    Default Re: Bees up and left a hive full of honey

    What a great way to make someone new feel welcomed to the forum .
    Geuss time will tell if JOHNTHEFARMER has anything to add to BEESOURCE.
    I know i have had hives take syrup when there was a flow and i have had bees clean up old honey frames when there was a flow . Just saying.
    But what do i know i'm only a 4 year beek like JOHN THE FARMER.Peace.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 15 hives==== T{OAV}

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