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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,
I am fairly new to beekeeping (second year). This spring, I started a colony from a Nuc hive that I bought. It grew and grew well through July to a two deep, one shallow super hive. For the first two weeks of August, I went on vacation, and when I returned I found that my hive had about one box of bees and some SHB left in it. Many of the bees were gone, but there was a queen. I didn't do anything, and two weeks later there was no queen and the hive was dying (literally about five bees and some SHB). It was very sudden; at the beginning of the last week of August, there were a reduced amount of bees, but no less than the second week of August. The next time I checked, at the end of that week, there were only a few bees left. My question is what happened? Did the bees abscond, and if so, why? Also, when I finally took the hive apart, on the bottom board there was this brown fuzzy stuff pictured in the link below. Does anybody have any idea what it is? Also, as background, we had a very wet summer.

http://mypicsures.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/dust/

In some parts, it's clumpy, others it feels like fuzz. I think I can make out a few wings? But, I'm not really sure. After scrutinizing my baggie, I can see some type of larvae (I am guessing beetles).

Thanks in advance to anyone who can think of what may have caused the bees to leave.
 

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What does your comb look like. "dust" appears to be mainly cappings and hive debris. Make sure you don't hive wax moth larvae or shb in combs.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There is absolutely nothing in the comb except for a few beetles, and some combs have these spider web things inside. The comb does not look ripped up or anything. If the hive did abscond, I assume anything left was robbed out after the colony left?
 

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It's wax moth if there's webbing of any kind, probably just an initial infestation. I'd freeze the combs quick before it gets worse. Sorry about the hive, are you sure they didn't starve out or anything?
 

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Definitely wax moth, thought I saw webbing rolled in the debris. Had a strong hive abscond this year for the same reason. And it wasn't completely infested. Freeze them or you will lose them.
 

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The beetles and wax moths probably came in at the end of the story which is likely to have gone something like this - strong hive swarms (maybe more than once) and ends up either weak or queenless, robbing ensues resulting in dry comb. Hive beetles and wax moths are incidental to the failure.

A likely alternative is that the hive was seriously weakened by varroa before it was robbed, and then the remaining bees absconded.
 

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I completely agree with David. When a hive is bone dry, the beetles have nothing to eat and won't generally get larva to propagate. The results are usually this brown dust like debris. Take your comb and freeze it and then store it for use next spring.
 
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