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Hive empty(11-29-19)

I had a very strong hive in the summer so I decided to add a second brood box so they would have extra room to expand but it’s completely void of any bees.
Is there anything that I can do with any of the two brood box frames(some of them looked to be complete frames of honey)
Thanks Matt

Oh dear, sounds like Varroa probably got your bees. :cry:

Any frames that I keep, I freeze for 24 hours, then keep in their boxes in a dry place with burlap wrapped around to prevent wax moths, roaches and other undesirables from moving in. If there is honey in the frames, I leave them frozen to prevent the honey from crystallizing (yes, it does work better than leaving them at ambient temperature). The frames then get defrosted next season about 2 days before putting them on a hive.

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Hey Matt, Did you not notice a decline in bee numbers over your recent inspections? Or was the numbers normal on one inspection and a dead hive on the next? How often did you do Inspections?
If you were planing after an inspection that you would add another brood box but when you went to add it found the hive dead it sounds like a really sudden crash of the colony.
@Dawn_SD could be right about Varroa but poisoning could be another cause. I wouldn’t advise doing anything with the frames except to freeze them without knowing the cause of the problem from your experts there in the US, like our Dept of Primary Industries here in Australia.
Till you know that I would put the frames in plastic bags and freeze them and bag up the rest of the hive so if it is a disease at least it is contained.
Cheers Matt

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I agree with @Peter48. How fast was the demise of the colony?

People ask me how often they should do inspection. I reply that we should know the status of the colony at all times. Therefore if the colony starts to wane, do an inspection to see what’s going on.

I think we should at least lift the lid & look down over the frames to see if the colony is either growing, stagnating or going backwards, taking weather, time of season as well as available forage into consideration.


So sorry to hear it Matt. This is a very common time in the season here in northeast US for colonies that have been sustaining themselves in spite of varroa presence, because of the way the life cycles of these two creatures interact. As cold weather sets in and bee numbers naturally drop, varroa numbers can spike very high. Your bee population was good going into late summer, but possibly in declining health with the mites feeding on them and transmitting diseases. So, a seemingly sudden crash like this is not out of the realm at all.

Jeff and Peter, you’re right to point out the importance of considering other possibilities, but I would not see poisoning as a likely culprit because it’s late fall here - bare trees, fields and flower beds all around, and bees are generally not out foraging now. No inspections as we know them in warm weather are being done now, but we still find clues like bees at the entrance and some flying on milder days, a good internal buzz when we put an ear up to the side, and bees popping up to investigate if we lift the lid for a quick peek. I’m guessing Matt went through steps like that and discovered the loss. Again, very sorry Matt! Hope you will try again next year :cherry_blossom::honeybee:


I feel your pain Matt: I’ve had two like that so far this year. Both were big production hives.
One was on blueberries for a few years so I kind of expected it, the other was one of my best hives for 4 or 5 years running.

All told, I think I’m down 3 or 4 hives so far this season.

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I stand corrected Eva. Upon reflection, I realize that fortnightly inspections would be out of the question in your climate at this time of year. Lifting the roof once a fortnight to look down over the frames would let too much cold air enter the hive.


Yeah, point taken, I forgot how cold it gets in other parts of the world.:thinking:
Cheers, n keep warm…:smiley:

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Ok, I believe after a long hive inspection that I found the queen dead.
There were several supersedure queen cells in the brood frames( almost like after she died they were trying to make something work but when it didn’t happen and stayed queenless they all just left the hive?) With so much honey reserves you wouldn’t think they would leave but this was my first hive( a friend of mine who has 8 hives went down to 3 hives this year so I don’t feel so bad I guess)
Thanks for your replies and I’ll see if we want to continue with this next year or not…
Thanks Matt