December 18, 2013 at 9:47 am #7444
All our bees are gone! We had a thriving hive in our backyard for about 2 years. About half the hive swarmed in early spring, so we didn’t get honey in the supers, but the bees had filled the 2 deep hive body’s with honey. We hadn’t opened the hive since October, but yesterday we opened it up because the hive started looking very quiet and it looked like a few bees were buzzing around to rob the hive, and there were no bees inside! but they left the honey! what happened? is this colony collapse??!?
We live near Malibu creek state park, lots of chaparral, and some suburb houses. we had about 4 days of freeze last week also.
Is any one else having this happen? we are so depressed.December 18, 2013 at 10:19 am #7445
If I were to wager a guess, I would say that what most likely happened is the queen left behind after the Spring swarm failed. The bees back-filled the brood nest because the queen wasn’t laying, and they slowly dwindled. I’d be surprised if this were a case of CCD. This can happen for a number of reasons, from mites/viruses to the exceptionally dry year we’ve had. Don’t be depressed, Spring is just around the corner and you can get set up again.
Would love to hear what the rest of the group thinks.
RobDecember 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm #7449
Sounds like a classic honey-bound hive. You say you saw the hive swarm once, that may have been the primary swarm with your original queen in it. Then the hive should have had one or more queens in the making. It could have swarmed several times without you seeing it happen each time. Eventually there is no fertile egg to raise a queen from and the hive stops throwing swarms and becomes queenless. The workers carry on bringing in nectar but no pollen because there is no brood, and eventually fill in every available cell before they all die. A honey-bound deadout.
As part of your management program, open up the brood nest and pull frames up into the next box up, this is called “pyramiding” for lack of a better verb. What this really means is expanding the brood nest up and making more room for bees to build comb and the queen to lay. Also, make sure you always have room for your bees to continue building, either by removing honey frames or adding boxes. Beekeeping is really about helping them manage space, and letting them work. Working bees are happy bees that tend to stay put more often, but don’t beat yourself up; all hives swarm for one reason or another and you can always get more bees.
~TysonDecember 19, 2013 at 1:48 am #7450
There’s a colony under our deck that needs a better home. We’re down in Long Beach. They haven’t bothered us – in fact we were glad to see them since the city destroyed the colony in our palm last year. We can’t legally “keep” them here per city code, but really don’t want to see them stupidly killed, and the colony has grown to big to be ignored — more than a cubic foot.
If you’re interested to come get them, please let me know.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.