My buddy and I did another cut out today. Back of a guys shed, he was going to rebuild the wall anyway, so do what needed to get in there and get it done.
Wall was on 2' centers and had a header half way up (about 4'). They were entering via a bit of rot in a bottom corner of a sheet of paneling/exterior sheeting in about the middle of the wall.
When I get there my mate has already pulled loose the sheet from the opposite end and there is no real comb in that section. We see where a hive had previously been removed (owner told us about that), and located that header.
I mark the header grab a level and run a line on it. Then I run a circular saw across that header and we get at it.
About 13 combs going about three feet down from that header stud at the four foot mark. Most of the right side (opposite from entrance) was capped honey. So we start pulling that out and stashing it in an ice chest... Things are going well.
We are about half way through and we start to realize that we aren't finding ANY brood nest... No eggs, no larva, no capped brood... Just honey, nectar and pollen. Bees are gentle (I never donned gloves and owners stood about 6' away watching at times. They acted like they had purpose, bringing in pollen, but no real clustering to speak of.
In the end we pulled out everything and bagged it all up, I ripped open the cavities above and to the side of this one to see if we were just missing something and there was nothing. Went inside the shed and not a single bee was inside the shed. We vacuumed up about 95% of the bees, cleaned up and went home. We gave the bees a couple frames of honey and a frame of eggs from one of my buddy's other hives and set them in place.
But what gives with this hive?!!??!?!!??
We are completely perplexed with our only rationale is that they swarmed, virgin hatched, killed the other queens, went on mating flight and never made it back?
Obviously we will know a little more come a few days and we see what they are doing with those eggs we gave them.