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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unusual situation - i would appreciate any insight.

Two small nucs started at a new apiary side by side about 6 weeks ago. Both queen right and progressing in 5 frame equipment. About two weeks ago, i moved both to 10 frame equipment w/5 frames of foundation spread on both sides of the original 5 frames. Open, capped brood, and eggs seen - healthy.

I checked on them yesterday and one of two empty. Capped honey, plenty of pollen, and both open and capped brood - dead. No bees anywhere dead or alive. Paired 10 frame colony right next to it normal growth, queen-right.

No evidence of brood disease looking at the dead colony. Larvae was dried out, but no evidence of foul brood, etc. - simply gone.

The only thing i can think of was the equipment. New pine boxes i built from plain wood last season - painted on outside only. No evidence of poisoning - the paired colony was normal and no piles of dead bees.

Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance
 

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Any signs of predators like skunks, etc? I would assume they had an existing condition (predators, mites, environmental, etc) that they did not like and moving them to new box was the "last straw"... How strong was the 5 frame nuc at the time of move to full box?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No predators around. The "sister colony" 1 foot away was unaffected.

It was all in ~4 frames of bees with about 1 total frame brood (mediums) when i moved to 10 frame. new frames were foundation on outside of the original five. I dont think they were chilled - simply gone.

Not the strongest nuc, but not bad.
 

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Did you paint the new hive equipment right before you installed the bees? I have had a nuc abscond on me once since I painted the box the day before and they did not like the fumes.
 

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You did not specify - is the remaining live nuc is looking unusually and quickly - stronger?
It very well may be.

This side-by-side positioning is not the best idea, especially when you disturb them like you did.
I suspect, there was no clear distinction between the original nuc positions and overall appearance.
Then you did what you did.

Entirely possible the subtle entrance shifting combined with abrupt significant expansion caused your bees to "recombine" into one unit.
They could just recombine around the "better queen" after some confusion you may have caused them.

The entrance positions are important.
Consider splitting 50/50 - the new hives must be placed apart far enough to create a clear distinctions between the two AND also make it so that the bees can not easily choose between the two (placement symmetry). If this is not done properly, one of the 50/50 splits will be preferred over the other (which I suspect may have happened in your case).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your insights.

Painted last year - no fumes.
Remaining hive is not particularly stronger.

what i though was odd was leaving capped brood, open brood - even very small larvae behind to die.

I dont think it was "ccd" either - no remaining queen walking around with a couple of attendants.
I suppose strange things can happen...
 
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