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bees gone.What happened?

2873 Views 14 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  bigd
Hi everyone! I'm new here and already needing help. I installed two packages sat.the 17th.Deep brood box,9 frame no foundation setup.They were doing fine,drawing comb,bringing in pollen.I released the queen yesterday the 20th,checked the bees this afternoon and the box was empty.My heart sank.All the excitement and anticipation and now disappointment and confusion.Is it normal for a colony to do this?I attended a beginning beekeeping class,read several books and have not seen this problem addressed.Any suggestions would be appreciated.I don't want to lose my other hive.Thanks for any help!
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Sometimes they will abscond when packages are installed. A queen excluder place at the bottom of the hive and no other exits reduce the chance of that happening.
A new package will abscond from time to time. A swarm will also abscond from a new hive. I have not had it happen to me on a new package but I have on a captured swarm. I now if you put a frame of open brood they will not leave the brood. If you are new you do not have brood to add. I do not like to release the queen. I like for the bees to eat through the candy and release here. I feel it is more stress free. As for your other hive I doubt they will leave. Like I said it does happen but not very often. Good luck and sorry for your loss.
Thanks for the replies.Do you think the bees had a dislike for my hives(they were painted just two days before installation) or just found someplace better? Also my queen cage had no candy stopper,only a cork.Thanks again!
You answered your own question: recent painting. Dry to the touch is not good enough. Paints cure for some indefinate time, depending on formulation. When curing, they offgas different levels of smells that the bees do not like. Let's get outta here.

It's not out of the question yet that the other leaves also.

Sorry: tough lesson.

if they don't have 2 weeks to dry, I don't count them as usable. my wife hates it, but I try to stay atleast 4 deeps ahead just in case.
In addition, were you feeding them?
Sometimes they will abscond when packages are installed. A queen excluder place at the bottom of the hive and no other exits reduce the chance of that happening.
Is this a very common practice? A mated queen for release would be something I would guess one would want to be sure of.
BigD, the very same thing happened to me last year with a package I installed. I was just lucky enough to come home and find them on a sapling 15 foot from the hive. I re-hived them and they decided to stay.
I think the bees left right after you released the queen. If they had released her naturally we would be discussing more pleasant bee adventures. The candy plug is designed with 150 years of beekeeping experience to give the bees time to adapt to the queen and they will not usually leave the hive without her. If she was still there, they would be too.
Thanks to all for your input.The queen cage had only a cork in one end,no candy.Here are the instructions as written by the supplier for the "direct release method":"leave the cork in queen cage and after three days go back,remove the cork and release the queen." Apparently there were a combination of factors resulting in the bees rejection of my best efforts to provide them with a home.I've learned a lot already about what not to do!Thanks again for the insights of all who responded. Dan
I found out today that a packaged I hived on April 15th has left the hive. Only a few bees remain. They released the queen and I guess she took off soon after along with most of the bees.

I am using top bar hives. They did draw out some comb, but I guess that wasn't enough to get her started laying. I checked the comb for eggs, but it looks like they has been using it for pollen storage.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the queen is still there and most of bee bees went out to collect something. I doubt it as the hive had a loud roaring sound to it. Very little bees but a very big sound.
I've painted hives in the Spring that needed a fresh coat and never had a problem, but I use latex paint. Maybe others are using oil based paints?
bigd, that's a tough break. It is recommended to only paint the outside of the hive components. Do you have the resources to get another package? It is very helpful to have two hives for comparing progress.
Only the outside of the hives were painted.I did start with 2 hives for that reason(comparison),also if one failed I would still have one.Now I realize how good a move that was! My other colony seems content for now(fingers crossed).If anyone in central MO has nucs or excess bees please contact me ! Thanks,Dan
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