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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all- looking for some help as I am very worried about one of my top bar hives. I did a thorough inspection on Saturday (48 hours) ago, and was shocked to see a large population of somewhat grumpy, purposeless bees, with virtually no honey stores present. We have large meadows, trees, etc - earlier this spring the hive was thriving and had lots of brood and capped honey - now all gone. I don't know if their stores were robbed, or consumed, but either way, this colony is in trouble. I believe them to be queen-less, and will have a new queen on hand to re-queen the hive tomorrow (Tuesday). The bees do not appear to be foraging; there is still some capped brood to hatch, but no sign of eggs or larvae. The workers just seem to be hanging out in the hive, with lots of empty comb and not much work being done. I have feeders available with 1:1 sugar syrup they can easily access, but not even a sign of capped syrup. Any suggestions for what might be wrong, and how to try to save this colony would be most appreciated.
 

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Sounds a bit like queenlessness to me. I've noticed the same behavior in hives before and them be queenless. Introduced a new queen cell to them and within days of the time the virgin emerged they were back to normal again.
 

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I did a split this year with a couple of different aged queen cells put in there (in case something went wrong with the first one).Last year I only had one hive and they made a great queen after swarming. After a month my bees split from that "booming" this-year-too hive Still seeming listless and when I opened the hive mid day, a heck of a lot of workers were just "in there" and original brood had hatched,but not the entrance activity I'd expected. I did have Some foragers at work but have a feeling they were what was left of the older ones and the nurses were rather idle in becoming foragers. I put some more comb and brood from my booming hive in there to get the newer nurses working again but ordered a queen that day too. Her acceptance went well and 3 days later I got the empty cage out and found her walking around on the 4th comb and there was a Lot more activity from the workers. It's been normal ever since. I think your hive will accept their new queen and be just fine too as it sounds like you are taking care of it in time but they are just eating the syrup for themselves not "working". Best wishes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your replies. I searched carefully for the queen on Saturday and again today. My conclusion is that either the queen died, inviting robbing, which stole the honey stores from this colony, or the colony was attacked and the queen was killed during the robbing. I just can't think of anything else that could have eliminated all the honey stores this hive had just a few weeks ago. I hope that, if the new queen is accepted, her laying new brood will stimulate the existing workers to get back out there and forage. There are quite a few dead bees in the bottom of the hive on the screen - perhaps victims of the attack? This hive is in one of our back fields and not checked daily - it is possible I could have missed an episode of robbing. Either way, they are now honeyless and queen less - I will try to fix the queen problem tomorrow; hope they have time to rebuild honey stocks this late in the summer.
 

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Hi all- looking for some help as I am very worried about one of my top bar hives. I did a thorough inspection on Saturday (48 hours) ago, and was shocked to see a large population of somewhat grumpy, purposeless bees, with virtually no honey stores present. We have large meadows, trees, etc - earlier this spring the hive was thriving and had lots of brood and capped honey - now all gone. I don't know if their stores were robbed, or consumed, but either way, this colony is in trouble. I believe them to be queen-less, and will have a new queen on hand to re-queen the hive tomorrow (Tuesday). The bees do not appear to be foraging; there is still some capped brood to hatch, but no sign of eggs or larvae. The workers just seem to be hanging out in the hive, with lots of empty comb and not much work being done. I have feeders available with 1:1 sugar syrup they can easily access, but not even a sign of capped syrup. Any suggestions for what might be wrong, and how to try to save this colony would be most appreciated.
Are they consuming the syrup or leaving it untouched?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
They are consuming the syrup but not attempting to store it at all. I have almost closed the front entrance of the robbed hive to give them less area to guard - and am thinking about moving one of the combs of honey from the adjacent hive back into the honeyless colony, since some of it was theirs. My top bars are dimensionally identical, so just a simple matter of swapping bars (as quickly as possible!).
 

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They are consuming the syrup but not attempting to store it at all. I have almost closed the front entrance of the robbed hive to give them less area to guard - and am thinking about moving one of the combs of honey from the adjacent hive back into the honeyless colony, since some of it was theirs. My top bars are dimensionally identical, so just a simple matter of swapping bars (as quickly as possible!).
My Queenless hives did not even take up the syrup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I dressed as a robber tonight, late dusk, and opened my two top bar hives (which sit side-by-side). One was the thief, one was the victim. I swapped a full comb of honey from the robber hive into the victim hive, closed the entrance except for a small opening at the corner, and took away all the syrup from the perch on the hive stand. Tomorrow my replacement queen arrives and I will put her in to the queenless hive asap. I'm hoping to release her by Thursday, if it seems like they will accept her. There are some patches of brood left in the queenless hive, so I'll just put her cage over the brood for a few days. Keeping my fingers crossed and trying to read up on re-queening to make sure I'm not missing anything.
 
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