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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in Central Illinois. I had 2 strong hives in Nov of last yr. I hadn't seen any activity over the winter with any of them but also didnt see any dead bees in the bottom of the hive. I opened up yesterday and the largest one 40-50,000 bees was completely empty & clean on the inside. It had the appereance of how it would look if someone had vacuumed them up. The hive has aprox 45 lbs of honey in it, several frames of pollin & some un hatched brood. The last activity I saw the average temps were highes 40-50's & lows 20-30's. Any thoughts?
 

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abscond is the only thing that comes to mind given the information. Sorry to hear.
With the information provided, an abscond is the best answer I can come up with too.

In my first year of keeping bees, I had one hive abscond (that was my thought at the time). With no dead bees, and lots of stores left behind, it seems the only answer.
 

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The current winter was difficult.

Last year was really quite bad with varroa mites. If my apiaries had a difficult time with varroa mites, it's likely yours did as well. 2020 was just a really tough varroa year.
 

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When did you last see live bees flying? Last fall? And, when did you last open them up?
I had several hives that dwindled away and died last fall. When I opened the hive up there was only a handful of bees left inside the hives. The hives that made it alive into winter but died during the winter had lots of dead bees in them.
 

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I think of abscond as being an all at once event, unlike the individual, flying out to die, of diseased or aged out bees. The latter is a very common result of varroasis that prevents the development of replacement winter bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When did you last see live bees flying? Last fall? And, when did you last open them up?
I had several hives that dwindled away and died last fall. When I opened the hive up there was only a handful of bees left inside the hives. The hives that made it alive into winter but died during the winter had lots of dead bees in them.
Mid to late Nov was the last activity I saw.. Mid Nov was the last day warm enough to open the hives. Normally we have a thaw in Jan or Feb, but not this year. Though it was rarely very could, it was mostly overcast the entire winter so it never warmed up. I just opened the hives for the first time feb 27th, it was the first day in the mid 50's
 

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What Crofter said.
Bees absconding in cold weather is a very very very rare event.
Often used improperly to explain or name the results of a sudden collapse of a colony from mites-virus load or nosema c.
Google the document "wintering bees in cold climates" and use the dead out key with pictures that starts about page 12.
 

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Pelkie, do you have a picture of the bottom board before it was cleaned?
some pics of the brood combs in the center of the hive straight on and from 45 Degrees below and up to see the comb cavities from 9 O'clock to 3 O'clock.
take one center comb from the box with the bit of brood left, and tap it on a white background (paper or cardboard) cell holes down , on each side a couple good taps to see what falls out. the combs with the little brood left would be good. can tap the end bar on the table.

for me seeing some of this helps and are some good items to look at.

thanks
GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Pelkie, do you have a picture of the bottom board before it was cleaned?
some pics of the brood combs in the center of the hive straight on and from 45 Degrees below and up to see the comb cavities from 9 O'clock to 3 O'clock.
take one center comb from the box with the bit of brood left, and tap it on a white background (paper or cardboard) cell holes down , on each side a couple good taps to see what falls out. the combs with the little brood left would be good. can tap the end bar on the table.

for me seeing some of this helps and are some good items to look at.

thanks
GG
Pelkie, do you have a picture of the bottom board before it was cleaned?
some pics of the brood combs in the center of the hive straight on and from 45 Degrees below and up to see the comb cavities from 9 O'clock to 3 O'clock.
take one center comb from the box with the bit of brood left, and tap it on a white background (paper or cardboard) cell holes down , on each side a couple good taps to see what falls out. the combs with the little brood left would be good. can tap the end bar on the table.

for me seeing some of this helps and are some good items to look at.

thanks
GG
Thanks Gary.



The bottom board has not been cleaned, its exactly the same as when I removed the hive from. The entire hive only had 4 complete bees, theres about a doz bee parts in the bottom. It was my largest hive in the fall. Some of the frames have a white substance in them if you zoom in. There was virtually no brood in this hive
 

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I live in Central Illinois. I had 2 strong hives in Nov of last yr. I hadn't seen any activity over the winter with any of them but also didnt see any dead bees in the bottom of the hive. I opened up yesterday and the largest one 40-50,000 bees was completely empty & clean on the inside. It had the appereance of how it would look if someone had vacuumed them up. The hive has aprox 45 lbs of honey in it, several frames of pollin & some un hatched brood. The last activity I saw the average temps were highes 40-50's & lows 20-30's. Any thoughts?
Varroa mites have this effect every season to both treated and un-treated colonies. We all must do better to control mites - or - we can leave it to the bees who when infested - try an escape, but by then its too late.
 

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nice pics,
hopefully some folks can offer opinion.
it does look like early mite kill off in the fall while the bees could fly.

those combs can be reused, for NUCs or packages, so keep them dry and bug free.

GG
 

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I live in Central Illinois. I had 2 strong hives in Nov of last yr. I hadn't seen any activity over the winter with any of them but also didnt see any dead bees in the bottom of the hive. I opened up yesterday and the largest one 40-50,000 bees was completely empty & clean on the inside. It had the appereance of how it would look if someone had vacuumed them up. The hive has aprox 45 lbs of honey in it, several frames of pollin & some un hatched brood. The last activity I saw the average temps were highes 40-50's & lows 20-30's. Any thoughts?
Near Denver Colorado we experienced several 24 hours drops in temp of 40 degrees or more. My toop bar bees were doing ok until sometime in January. I looked in the hive yesterday and there were no bees and plenty of honey. Absconding in the winter is not something I would have expected and we had a Hive Cozy on the hive, so they were warm. Additionally, they had propolized the entrance considerably. Cold? Queen? Couldn't get to the honey? Not sure. my neighbor across the valley, with a Warre hive, had plenty of honey and her bees are solid gone too.
 
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