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Heather 

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A pal been to his apiary. One decent sized colony, topped up with fondant, and a super of stores has decamped..not one bee remained!.. In November!...they had room, so any thoughts why? I know of starvation swarm but these had no excuse!
 

enrico 

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I had that happen to me many many years ago. No one believed me!!!! I have no idea where they went. One day they were there. The next day they had all gone. Every single one!
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Usual story is, queen failed and they dwindled to nothing - and no, you don't always get laying workers, or the sorry looking final little cluster of dead bees remaining on the comb/floor
 

Boston Bees 

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A pal been to his apiary. One decent sized colony, topped up with fondant, and a super of stores has decamped..not one bee remained!.. In November!...they had room, so any thoughts why? I know of starvation swarm but these had no excuse!
In terms of inspections, when was there last definitely a laying queen present i.e. eggs seen?
 
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Usual story is, queen failed and they dwindled to nothing - and no, you don't always get laying workers, or the sorry looking final little cluster of dead bees remaining on the comb/floor
Yes .. I lost one of mine exactly like this to queen failure last year ... I knew she wasn't performing going into winter as the brood pattern just got very patchy and reduced to nothing when she should have been laying up for winter .. it was a bought in Buckfast and I was a bit disappointed. I thought it might be a late season brood break and left them but .. one week there was a small but viable colony - two weeks later - hive with plenty of stores but no bees whatsoever ... like the Marie Celeste of beekeeping. It happened very quickly ....

I have theory that the remaining bees realise that the colony as such is doomed and beg their way into other colonies ... we have a very mild climate down here on the Costa del Fareham - my bees are still foraging most days and very busy ... it would be easy to see them shift allegiance to another colony with a crop of pollen in their baskets.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Yes .. I lost one of mine exactly like this to queen failure last year ... I knew she wasn't performing going into winter as the brood pattern just got very patchy and reduced to nothing when she should have been laying up for winter .. it was a bought in Buckfast and I was a bit disappointed. I thought it might be a late season brood break and left them but .. one week there was a small but viable colony - two weeks later - hive with plenty of stores but no bees whatsoever ... like the Marie Celeste of beekeeping. It happened very quickly ....

I have theory that the remaining bees realise that the colony as such is doomed and beg their way into other colonies ... we have a very mild climate down here on the Costa del Fareham - my bees are still foraging most days and very busy ... it would be easy to see them shift allegiance to another colony with a crop of pollen in their baskets.
I think I may have a colony going the same way over winter.
Poorly performing queen over this last season.
Should have culled her.
Bees are out for water most days in all colonies
 
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I think I may have a colony going the same way over winter.
Poorly performing queen over this last season.
Should have culled her.
Bees are out for water most days in all colonies
I normally see bees on the stubs of Loostrife in my pond when they are collecting water ... on mild dry days in winter and particularly early in spring the pond is often alive with them ... not very many there at present but yesterday between about 11.00am and 2.00pm it was like mid summer in my apiary. I was clearing out the shed in the corner by the hives and watching them come and go ... lots of pollen going in.

I made the mistake of not culling the failing queen last year and combining or re-quening earlier but when you have coughed up £30+ quid for a queen you rather hope that it's not happening .. another lesson learned.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I've had one this season - long story but they replaced the queen again in August, no sign of her getting mated and laying, I decided, as they were at the home apiary to let it run its course (for observational reasons more than anything) They took down stores, but not much when I was winter feeding, they were still active during vaping, but a few weeks ago, I opened up and there was nothing - not a single bee, no brood (drone or otherwise) and not one single dead bee on the OMF
 

Amari 

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When all the bees disappear suddenly, is this not colony collapse disorder as per USA?
 

madasafish 

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When all the bees disappear suddenly, is this not colony collapse disorder as per USA?

You mean: neglect your bees, stuff them somewhere for winter and don't feed or treat them CCD?

(I am judging from videos of US beekeepers.
US winter losses are in the range of 30-40% for hobbyists - lots don't treat and do it all wrong. Commercial losses are much less.)
 
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You mean: neglect your bees, stuff them somewhere for winter and don't feed or treat them CCD?

(I am judging from videos of US beekeepers.
US winter losses are in the range of 30-40% for hobbyists - lots don't treat and do it all wrong. Commercial losses are much less.)
Although some commercial losses have been huge... not surprising when you see trucks with hundreds if not thousands of colonies being hauled around from one end of the USA to the other to take advantage of the almond pollination in California to the Florida Melons etc, - all monocrops - Then piled up somewhere for winter and if they are fed then it's with cheap corn syrup. Makes intensive farming of livestock look almost humane ... CCD should be BBD - Bad Beekeeping Disorder. I know not all USA beekeepers are like this but some certainly are ...
 

Boston Bees 

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This "absconding" is what we see after varroa crash. Colonies seemingly strong in population and heavy with stores, gone in November.
Do the bees all die, or do they beg into other nests? Or does the whole lot move to a new location if they can find one?
 

Michael Palmer 

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I've read reports of the bees seeking out live colonies that they can move to. I doubt that scenario. From what I've seen since the beginnings of the varroa invasion, the sick virus ridden bees leave the hive. The old bees who can still fly die out in the field. Those that have DWV and can't fly, leave the hive and crawl away. Easily observed if you look at the ground a number of yards away from the hive. If the colony crashes from virus after the arrival of extended cold weather, the bees die in the hive and fall to the bottom
 

Boston Bees 

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I've read reports of the bees seeking out live colonies that they can move to. I doubt that scenario. From what I've seen since the beginnings of the varroa invasion, the sick virus ridden bees leave the hive. The old bees who can still fly die out in the field. Those that have DWV and can't fly, leave the hive and crawl away. Easily observed if you look at the ground a number of yards away from the hive. If the colony crashes from virus after the arrival of extended cold weather, the bees die in the hive and fall to the bottom
Many thanks, that makes sense
 

Ian123 

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I’ve seen this happen to large colonies before some leave the whole entrance wide open and it’s just an invitation to wasp Armageddon
 

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