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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to Bee Keeping, last year was my first year with any kind of hive. I have a Top Bar and everything went great last year until I harvested. I waited unti the end of Aug then harvested 2 of 6 capped combs. A week later I was asked for comb honey and I but I had already separated my original comb so I harvested 1 more "total of 3 of 6". When I checked back two weeks later the bees had absconded. I chocked it up to my harvesting to close together and being new I had really worked up the hive. This year I have two top bar hives. I harvested one last week "2 combs of 7", everything went well bees not worked up at all. When I checked them today they are in the middle of absconding "2 of the remaining 5 combs" were cleaned out. Do Top Bars have a higher rate of absconding? Could I be doing something wrong? Reading up on it, I understand that it's not fully understood why they might do this however I'm just looking for advice on what I can do to lower my chances of it happening again. Thanks in advance!!!
 

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My Niece's hive absconded this summer, We think due to a very bad small hive beetle infestation. she had the hive in a shaded area , mine are in full sun and I've never seen more than 1 or 2 beetles
hers had 100's it seemed like. That can be one cause
 

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"2 of the remaining 5 combs" were cleaned out.

Sounds a lot like robbing to me. When harvesting honey...or actually doing anything inside a hive.....during a nectar dearth one must be extra careful. Exposing honey releases a smell that is irresistible to every bee in the neighborhood.
 

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top bars take special management, you can't just leave them like we can with langs.

My take on it from your post, is that they had 5 combs built and you took their honey stores, the 2 combs, that's what you wrote in your post.

how many bars have comb on them and how do you manage the system?
How big is your top bar?

you leave out allot of info needed to help your situation out.

have you read Wyatt's or Crowder's books on Top Bar Hives?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Don't they "eat up" what stores of honey they can before leaving? I didn't have any broken comb or release any honey during the harvest. I did take the equipment I used "strainers, bowls and such" out for clean up though. If they are being robbed, any way to tell or to stop it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mine are 3 1/2 feet long. 27 slats for comb building, 5 of the slats at the back had not been built on yet. The next 3 were a mix capped honey and nectar. The next 7 were capped honey "of which I took 2 leaving 5 fully capped combs" the next 5 or 6 are a mix brood and capped honey, the front are all brood
 

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Do you have a screened bottom, and did you replace the bars you harvested immediately after cutting off the bar?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No screen on the bottom, I have extra slats so I replaced the slats I took out the the extra slats. I did move everything forward and put the replace slats in back of the comb that is 1/2 capped and 1/2 nectar
 

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Are you sure you aren't misinterpreting absconding for swarming? Are there any bees left in the hive? Queen cells? Not questioning your knowledge base, but something isn't adding up here. Need some more information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No offense at all, that's why I'm one here. Only know what I've read and observed. Bees are left in the hive, but the combs that were 1/2 honey and 1/2 capped comb are clean, only pure comb nothing in them. 3rd comb from the back is 90% cleaned. I'm working a lot of hours right now so I can only tell by what I see though the window. Tomorrow I'm off and going to open the hive to get a better look. Wanting ideas of what to look for. So far I've heard "robbed" but is it natural from robbing to work from the back to the front? Now swarming, but is it normal from them to clean some of the comb when they swarm? I did not notice any swarming behavior prior to the harvest. And the other day was the first day I could get back to the hive since I did the harvest. I thought abscond because it seems similar to what happened last year. I harvested "but did take more comb" then they cleaned the comb when they left. I did have bees in the hive last year until everything was clean, but not sure if it was another hive robbing what was left or not.
 

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My thinking was, some people harvest off the bar right at the hive site, then give the bar with the remaining honey and comb back to the hive. If it was a screened bottom, this could set off a robbing scenario as the residual honey from the bars dripped down and through the screen.
 
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