random question I know, I had a package hive that came with two queens, one survived and seemed to be doing well, then went queenless, no brood, i requeened, found brood in august along with two queens (yes I must have missed one? or she was out mating?), after my neighbor alerted me to a swarm ( 30 feet up, could not retrieve), it seems it was this hive, which is again queenless with no brood, full inspection found 3 inch spider (funnel spider?) on last outer frame with multiple wrapped dead bees (my queen:frowning_face?), would this make the bees swarm? It seemed to be strong hive, i would have thought they would kill it. I may have missed this spider in last inspection because that outer frame had no drawn comb. and part two, if I could find a queen this late, would it save the hive before winter in NJ?
How much honey and nectar is in there. They tend to abscond because of robbing or lack of food. I had a nuc leave the other day. I think they were being robbed. Little honey and nectar compared to other hives. No dead bees or tore up comb so not sure. To high in tree to retrieve. The spider would not cause them to abscond or swarm. If you have another hive I would combine.
I have had a hive abscond in Fall because of a heavy ant infestation, so you may be right about the spider. Shame we can’t ask the bees.
You are likely spot on Dawn, if ants are a problem (often overlooked) and the bees are not able to build up their stores then it makes sense to move away.
Ants are by a long way my biggest pest problem and so glad I found that ant dust was of no interest to my bees. I followed one ant trail from my apiary for about 30 yards to their nest and ‘knocked it on the head’.
My other issue is Magpie’s. Local families of them fly to my apiary each afternoon for a feed of bees and are teaching their young about the delicacy. They only stay a few minutes and I am not duly upset to seeing them. It is funny, Jeff has them and Butcher Birds at his place but they have Jeff so well trained that when they land at his kitchen window he automatically goes to the fridge to feed them, they are so well fed they don’t bother with his bees.
I think it’s a possibility too - during my inspection last week was at first quite puzzled by all the bee parts littering the top of the inner cover of an otherwise strong hive, until I spotted the large spider hiding in the corner. I dispatched her and cleared away the sad litter.
This hive was very aggressive by the way I had to fast-walk away a couple times and didn’t dig all the way in as a result.
Thanks for all your input, update the hive has a small what I think is unmated new queen, very few bees left, but, I now know it was my large hive that swarmed. It is nearly empty of bees, full of honey and pollen. This was my flow hive producer this year. My four hives have all requeened late summer. None are really great at the moment we have had weeks of rain here my sure if that contributed.
I had trouble with my late queens mating. After a few tries I ended up with poor queens. The hives maintained their size but did not expand. I am in zone 9 .Probably not enough drones around to produce good queens. I do not think your queen will succefully mate. With weeks of rain unmated queens window of opportunity has probably passed. Consider combining hives and protecting the empty frames from pests. If you want to give new queen a try put her in nuc and see if she mated sucesfully.
that’s my plan, am going to go thru the hives in another week to see if any improvement, all are nearly broodless, such a strange month for me and my bees.
If that was the hive with the spider, I would say that it “absconded” rather than swarmed. They are subtly different concepts.