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Honey Loss Question


Hello everyone, I conducted my last inspection on May 30. Although I didn’t see the queen, I had brood, eggs, larvee and honey stores in the brood box. The honey super frames were about 1/4 full with some of the cells full and capped. I have not had a swarm, we have good nectar flow in west central Florida, USA at Rhet moment. Today, I checked the hive and noticed that the flow supers are empty. I looked through the observation window and the cells are absolutely empty and cleaned out. I’m going to do a full inspection tomorrow morning to see if I can find out any more, but I’d appreciate any thoughts anyone might have.

Thanks in advance.


Any signs of robbing? Robbers can empty a hive in a few days. :open_mouth:


As a new bee keeper, I don’t know what to look for. How can you tell if there are robbers around. I have an entrance reducer and All the bees at the entrance look like my bees.


Bees visibly wrestling with each other, trying to bite and sting each other. Bees approaching the hive slowly, with their back legs hanging low is suspicious. A pile of dead bees in front of the hive is a pretty good hint too.

I know that this isn’t exactly right by you, but it looks like some parts of western FL are not having a great nectar flow at the moment. So if isn’t robbing or swarming, it is likely a dearth:



As you can see unless robbing is over and the thieves have already left the crime scene, everything seems normal. I’ll feed them sugar syrup just in case there is a dearth.

How can I stop robbing?



I would inspect the brood box first. If they have at least 2-3 frames of honey stores, you probably don’t need to feed yet. Wait until they are down to one to 1.5 frames.

Please take the Flow super off if you are going to feed. You don’t want sugar syrup in your extracted honey! :blush:

I don’t see any obvious robbing from your photograph. However, if you ever do see it, the best way to stop it is as soon as possible with a “robbing screen” like the ones available from Brushy Mountain bee supplies. Make sure that you get the right size for your hive - they come in 8 and 10 frame sizes. :wink:


As you can see unless robbing is over and the thieves have already left the crime scene, everything seems normal. I’ll feed them sugar syrup just in case there is a dearth.

How can I stop robbing?



Thanks Dawn_SD, you have been tremendously helpful. I’m just sick to my stomach to have had my girls work so hard all this time and have nothing to show for it.


That is the nature of beekeeping. Here in San Diego, the nectar stopped flowing a few weeks ago. My bees are now eating about 3/4lb per day, so we probably won’t get a harvest this year. The hive is over 2 years old, with a fresh queen this spring. The problem is the weather and forage, not the bees or our management. :wink:


That’s a very nice management chart. Is this something you’re using to manage your hives?


Yes it is. A bit pricey - around $600 to buy it, but we find it extremely helpful. I wouldn’t be without it. The monitoring system is from www.arnia.co.uk. If you contact them, ask for George, and tell him that I sent you. Also remind them that you need a price list in US dollars, or you will get a quote in British pounds. :blush:


Awesome, thanks for the referral. I’ll be sure to ask for him.


How do you know the hive didn’t swarm?


The Arnia can tell you that too, if you are away from the apiary. If your hive loses more than 1.5kg (3lb) in a day, and the overall hive acoustic activity decreases, they probably swarmed. Great tool. :blush:


That’s great! Let’s see, $600.00 X 50 hives…lol


You can afford to lose a few hives, Ed @Red_Hot_Chilipepper, and you know it! :wink: For those who only have one or two hives, or who are incredibly curious about learning bee culture and lifestyle, this is a wonderful tool. In other words, perfect for academics/researchers and hobbyists who care and can afford the equipment.

Not the bees’ knees, nor the golden goose, but it is fantastic for those of who care about our personal colonies, and yet are not full-time agriculturalists/beekeepers etc. Expensive, but not commercially viable, just like the Flow hive. But you know that already, @Red_Hot_Chilipepper. So there! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Still love ya!


Are you kidding? I would love to have those on every single hive and as a bee hoarder, I cannot spare a single hive and need more :slight_smile:
That is a very valuable tool imo.


Careful, I’m still your eDoc lol (How are you feeling?)


Never had a queen or swarm cell and have not noticed swarming behavior




Reading through you thread I would be thinking your bees are not finding a good nectar flow at the moment so are feeding on honey they have already collected. You will have ups and downs in pollen and nectar, it is just a part of bee keeping that we have to contend with in most parts of the world.
A belated welcome to the forum, lots of nice people here ready to help with advise.