I started beekeeping with a Warre in April this year, and I live in Denver.
I have 2 boxes set up for the bees, and it took about 6+ weeks but they filled out the top box. They never grew into the bottom box. I've heard that bees sometimes do not grow into the bottom box with Warre hives, and may prematurely swarm as a result.
But now I'm wondering - where did my bees go?
3 days ago the hive was busy and full. Bees were coming in with pollen and they have plenty of honey. I haven't seen the queen in months, but she was laying and everything seemed good, just slow.
Yesterday morning I took a peek at the hive and almost no bees were in there. In fact, yellow jackets had realized the hive was weak and began entering the hive and attacking. (I stomped on any that were on the ground.) There were also a few bee larvae on the floor of the hive. It's just by chance that I saw this, but there was one single bee outside the hive with 10+ varroa mites on her. I saw no mites on the few bees left in the hive (I have the window), and only a few on the screened bottom board. I thought maybe she was a sacrificial bee?
So, with only 1 full day of me not checking on them, what happened? Did they swarm prematurely, in late September?? That seems like certain death. Did they just abscond?? Then why are the few bees that are left bringing pollen into the hive today?
There is no evidence of honey robbing (no wax on the screened bottom board), and I plugged the entrance with grass so the hive can deal with any predators.
What are your thoughts on what happened? And what do I do now? I haven't been able to find any answers.
Thanks for your input,