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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first year at bee keeping and I've experienced something that I haven't seen any other messages about. We have 2 hives, one is a Langstroth and one is a top bar. About 3 weeks ago I went in to check them and found the Langstroth doing very well - capped honey and lots of brood. The top bar, on the other hand, was completely cleaned out. There were still bees, but all the honey and brood were gone. It was perfectly, squeaky clean. I bought a new queen and put them on sugar syrup. I went in again yesterday to see how they were doing and found new brood and stores of honey/sugar syrup. BUT, now the Langstroth is cleaned out. In both cases, the hives have had plenty of room for expansion and seemed to be strong hives from my limited perspective. Please advise.
 

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That's what happens when you mix them. They treat one as the office/ city home and the other as the vacation/ country home. You'll find them in one place or the other but not both. :D :lookout:
Seriously, I have no idea but I'll vote for swarming too. Was the queen you introduced marked? Can you tell if she's the one laying in the TBH? Top bars will sometimes swarm on a whim, even with plenty of space they'll decide not to expand but rather to split. What do you mean by plenty of space in the Lang? Did they have partially drawn supers? Some hives are reluctant to go through a queen excluder, it takes them a while to accept that space in the super.
 

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All of my hives ar cheek to jowl, 4 per pallet, two back to back. So, your couldn't have been too close to each other.

Very strange. You should have someone look the situation over to have a good idea as to what has happened.

You said that you are a first year beekeeper, so maybe you just don't know what you are seeing. Maybe they weren't in as good a shape as you thought. And I find it difficult to understand how after the TBH vacated itself you were3 able to bring it back to life w/ a queen and syrup and now the other hive is abandoned and cleaned out. And you didn't see any unusual activity?

We aren't getting the full picture. Which, if we were there ourselves we would have a better idea. I don't know. Ya got me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There were still bees in the TBH and after talking to the man I bought my packages from we determined that they had either swarmed or robber bees had visited, although from what I understand, robber bees leave a mess in the hive and there was no mess. Because there was no larvae we determined there was no queen so I bought and installed a new one (unmarked.)

When I went into the Lang on Monday, I found a similar situation. No new larvae, no capped honey and only older capped brood. The lang had 2 deeps and I had recently added a queen excluder and honey super because the 2nd deep was about 70% drawn.

THe TBH was about 50% drawn when they packed up and left.

I don't doubt that they swarmed and I don't doubt that I don't really know what I'm seeing. We're in NH so I'm wondering if I can still get them through the winter and how do I avoid this in the future?
 

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It sounds like robbing is the most likely answer. Once bees get a scent for free honey, they are hooked and my guess is that bees other than yours robbed out first one, then the other, colony. Usually you will see a number of dead bees lying around and some wax, although neither is always readily apparent, especially if there was not much capped honey.
New colonies MUST have their entrances severely reduced whenever there is not a good nectar flow on. Feeding during a dearth is a sure recipe for robbing.
Dry sugar on the top bars may get your colonies through if you are unable to get enough feed on them, and it does not incite robbing.
 
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