Hi there, I was given a flowhive and nuc as a gift last November. After building the hive I moved the nuc and queen (checked to make sure I had her) into it as the frames were already full and overflowing with honey. The hive was stationed near the house so I could look at them coming and going every day to keep an eye on things.
All seemed ok initially- hive noisy and busy but gradually it did seem to become quieter and less busy from Feb/March on but bees were still coming and going so I thought it must have been because of the cooler weather. I didn’t open and check the hive because I was in a busy patch and could see from the side windows that the outside racks were not being filled. I regularly checked the bottom tray and it would always have pollen debri underneath the inner racks where they mush have been working, and occasional hive beetles.
At the end of April I began putting sugar water out in case the bees needed it during winter but they ignored it as they were still visiting flowers - flowering cruciate veges and camellias. Over this period they were still slowly getting quieter and not as busy. Again. I thought it must have been the colder weather.
Then, about 3 weeks ago, I saw about 50 - 100 of them flying in circles in the air over my neighbour’s property but this only lasted for one or two hours … and then hive become deathly quiet over the next few days.
On checking inside it was completely empty - no brood or capped honey - zilch - even though the bees had been all around the camellia bushes and had access to sugar water before this happened. There were a few hive beetles wandering around and about 10 bee bodies at the bottom of the hive but that was it.
I don’t know why this happened as I didn’t see an obvious swarm at any time and now, in retrospect, it does seem to have happened over a prolonged period of gradually reducing activity that I put down to the cooler weather.
Does anyone have any thoughts for a newbie on why this happened and what I should do to stop it happening again?