Absconding bees

To abscond: To leave hurriedly, surreptitiously to avoid detection.

One of my hives absconded.


All but a handful of bees were left in the four story hive. The hive appeared to have been robbed also, not a lick of honey left, but there were plenty of cells with pollen.

The bees were a happy bunch when I did my last inspection in early June. They even got another super placed as they were going gang busters on bringing in nectar and making honey.

So what happened?

Was it hot? Absolutely. We have had numerous 90+ days with a heat index over 100 degrees. But my other hives didn’t abscond.

Did they have a high mite load? They shouldn’t have. I treated in early March. I have solid bottom board and I did not see mite bodies when I was doing the hive autopsy today. There were some hive beetle larvae underneath the wax capping remnants. But hardly any adult hive beetles in the hive boxes.

There weren’t traces of wax moths, or their destructive slime.

As I inspected the empty frames…I wondered. I went into another 3 story hive which was a foot away from the empty hive. Booming. Lots of bees, lots of larvae, lots of capped larvae. Some honey but not as much as I would expect for a hive that large. Is it early dearth? Do I need to start feeding?

The middle hive had no one sitting on it’s front porch.

I gave the 3 story hive the brood box from the absconded hive. I should have frozen the frames for two days just in case the enemy was there…but I didn’t. I will check in a week to ensure all is well.

I placed the other boxes/frames in my garage and will have a further look at them and then freeze them as good wax cells are like gold.

And then the decision to treat or not to treat my other six hives. And if I decide to treat — what to use—i have oxalic acid and I can dribble of vaporize, but oxalic isn’t to be used when brood present. I could just do successive vaporizing treatments. I can’t do apivar – it is too hot for that. I could do hops. I guess it’s time for an alcohol wash.

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