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Possible Fall Swarm?


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??


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.


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!


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.



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?