I installed my flow frames about two weeks ago-- two days ago, they were chock full of bees and were super busy-- I was so excited! Today, I peeked in the observation windows, and though there was tiny pin points of honey in many of the cells, it was like a ghost town, with only a few bees wandering around. There was still a good amount walking on top of the queen excluder. The rest of the hive looks totally normal-- lots of activity with bees going in and out. Does anyone know what’s going on?
With such a dramatic drop in population, it sounds like your colony has swarmed.
I agree with @JeffH, that swarming is high probability.
What’s the weather been like?
Did you inspect the rest? See the queen, a virgin, or queen cells? What does the population in the brood box(es) look like?
Unfortunately it’s also possible your bees have absconded (deserted the hive completely - this is different to swarming, which is when roughly half of your colony leaves with the old queen to create a new colony, while the other half stays in the hive and promotes a new queen).
There is usually a good reason for the colony absconding - missing queen, pests or disease in the hive, pesticides, nectar dearth, etc. - so it’s worth inspecting the hive to see what signs of trouble you may be able to spot.
Feel free to share some photos here so we can get a better idea of what’s going on…
Thanks for replying-- they actually moved there way back up to the flow frames and started working again. I think maybe it was related to the time of day? I corresponded with a few other flow hive keepers that said this happens in their hives as well, so I think we’re good.
Oh that’s great news! Thanks for the update Megan.
I found the same with my flow frames. Yesterday I took the back cover off and shone a torch towards the centre of the flow frames - there they were, buidling up in the centre and front of the box, so I have no doubt that they are going to move outwards and backwards.