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Excitement in the Hive!


After a “successful” first season it all came crashing down yesterday.

With temps in the 70’s here in VT I conducted a hive inspection and found one (1) yellow jacket. No bees. Not one. None. Zero.

Five days ago the hive was thriving, very populated and active.

I pulled the super inside and harvested all the frames, with a yield of about a half gallon of 20% MC. It’s incredibly delicious, and my strategy is to keep it refrigerated, and warm it up before each use with some hot water. Maybe i’ll freeze some. Not ideal, but that’s OK.

I am set up nice for next season, I plan to add another brood box, I’m thinking they ran out of room and split to find a bigger home.

I certainly learned a lot, and look forward to spring!


Sounds like your bees absconded. If you had a swarm, there would be some bees left.
Before you start over, best find out why your bees left.
When did you inspect last?
Any dead bees around? Did you treat for mites in time?
How devastating to find no bees left in your hive!
Find out the cause and start over. Good luck!
Don’t give up, just learn.


Thanks Webclan!

Last inspection was Wed. the 3rd., all was good.

I have noticed a bunch of drone bees being carried out in the recent week, but hive population was strong.

I did not treat for mites.

Thanks agian, and yes onward and upward!


I know nothing about mites, but even from here I think your bees enforced a brood break upon themselves and absconded, just to survive.
Did they leave any brood behind at all? Not that that would make a difference to you, just wondering.
Does the brood comb look destroyed, ragged, eaten away?
Pics would help. I’m trying to understand what mites can do, so to be prepared once they hit our shores.
That yellow jacket prob had nothing to do with it all, even though I heard yellow jackets can eliminate a hive in a matter of days too.
Some close up brood comb pics will enable some of our more experienced forum members to come up with a more certain diagnosis.


Oh so sorry…that is a bad surprise to find. @Webclan is right, your colony absconded, which happens when the bees are under threat. Swarming is uncommon/unseen in fall because colonies are preparing for winter survival rather than reproduction. One of my colonies absconded around this time last year when wax moths were able to get the upper hand, but this was only possible because varroa mites had steadily weakened the bees’ health. I had treated with oxalic acid vapor, but didn’t effectively plan the timing and number of treatments. Mites start sucking the lifeblood from bee pupae, continue on into their adulthood, and transmit a number of devastating diseases.

If you decide to start over, please spend some time this winter reading up on your mite treatment options, and talking with local beekeepers to learn about their strategies. Good luck :+1:


There is nothing more certain than that the bees have absconded or preyed on.

A severe and relentless attack by yellow jackets can wipe out a bee colony so if there is not any more bees dead than is usual the yellow jackets could be the cause. If there is a heap of dead bees in the hive and on the ground around the entrance and you haven’t treated for mites that might be the answer.
If drones are too big a percentage of the colony the worker bees will evict some of them, especially if the bees are in a dearth or a shortage of honey stores.