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Possible Fall Swarm?


#1

Hey Folks-

Trying to figure out a mystery. First year with my Flow but I’ve been keeping Bees for about 5 years and I live in Eastern Nebraska in the U.S.

I harvested my flow frames in our typical harvest time frame mid to late September and was very happy with my first year with Flow and pulling out about 5 gallons total. I then prepared for winter as I usually would, removing the Honey Supers and scaling back for winter. I also verified the honey stores below were adequate for winter and the colony appeared to be strong and ready for our cold season

Now here we are a month later and upon inspection, there are zero bees in the hive and very few dead bees…AND all of the frames are full of capped honey. I guess if the colony was diseased or weak I would see noticeable amounts of dead bees. Furthermore, if the colony was weak or diseased I would assume I would see signs of robbing or plenty of uncapped cells. I’m not familiar with a swarm just prior to winter, any thoughts on what may have occurred? Hard to believe they would swarm this time of year with so much honey stored??


#2

Look in the brood for evidence of swarming. You will see recent queen cells that have either been exited from or holes in the sides.


#3

Hi Sven, sorry to hear about your bees :cry:Sounds a little like my colony last month. There were still a few workers in mine, but no queen, brood, and almost dry stores. It was also infested with wax moths. They probably came in after heavy varroa die-off (even tho I treated) OR after the queen & major population absconded (because of overwhelming circumstances in the hive).

I learned that this event isn’t called a swarm when it happens in fall, because this group of bees will most certainly not be in a position to reproduce. So, check around & ask neighbors - maybe you’ll find your bees!


#4

Sounds like a classic for varroa, I am afraid. Do you treat? If so, how? Do you do mite counts? There are other possibilities, like absconding, but at this time of year, varroa collapse has to be a prime suspect. If you have more information, or photos, we will try hard to help you.

:cry:


#5

Agree with Dawn. Varroa likely the culprit. A colony can tolerate vast numbers (by which time there is nothing you can do) then it comes crashing down in a matter of a week or so
What has been your pest management?