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I have a number of 5 frame nucs with attached bottom board. Over the years most have had a fermented honey run out of combs onto the bottom board. The bottom boards have been washed and bleached. I've had several nucs abscond this year. Could the reason be a leftover smell of fermentation?
 

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what caused the fermentation? New or reused comb? No experience with this but it seems reasonable that they'd find an odor unacceptable that we might not notice. On the other hand, have you eliminated other explanations such as mite count or SHB, etc?
 

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At least for me they seem to have a few things in common high beetles and or continually being pestered by robber bees.

High mite counts and open screen bottom boards are also reasons they may abscond.

I don't believe the left over smell of fermenting nectar will bother them, I have had hives with fermented frames and given hives fermented frames to clean up. Also open fed fermented frames which the bees eagerly clean up.

Have to be carful with beetled slimed stuff especially frames, as it can attract lots of beetles which could cause the hive to get slimed or abscond.

Bee are always cleaning the inside of the hive if there is something that is too strong or they don't like they clean it or propolize it.
 
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