I do have a question for you? What did you put in the sugar blocks besides water and sugar?The title of this thread is Treatment-free Bungling. Well, learned another lesson this week. Do not feed sugar cakes this early in the Fall. I put them on and immediately the scavengers came flying. The bees started dragging sugar granules out the front door and attracted hordes of robber bees, flies and yellow jackets. I eventually got smart and blocked the front door. Then it rained and that stopped the worst of it. I have squashed a few dozen yellow jackets.
Opened up the hives today and of the original 4 pounds apiece one hive has eaten, stored or disposed of maybe 3 pounds. The other maybe two. I have 4 hives here at home and all four will be needing a lot of sugar. Very wet and cool and not much foraging going on this last whole month.
I put had put sugar blocks on every year before now on oct first. I even put a little vinegar in some of them (not much though). The bees did carry some of the sugar out and I have posted pictures of it in years past. I have never seen interest from other bees or bugs on what was piled up in front of the hives. I also do not think they ever got rid of big amounts and am thinking they more took out the lose stuff. My blocks were big though. I never really seen bees really go to hard work on the blocks till they started raising brood in spring when they could really start going through it. I was putting 12 to 15 lbs blocks on at the beginning of oct with the knowledge that I would lose a little but confident that once done, I was good for the year. I would take the sugar blocks off around april and there was usually some left and it seemed that the bees ate the sugar block before finishing the stores that were in comb.
I wonder if you were adding some smell that created an interest from other pest and bees that were out side the hive?