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My hive dissapeared without a trace

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New Bee

Joined: 05 Sep 2015
Posts: 1
Location: Cyprus

PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:24 pm    Post subject: My hive dissapeared without a trace Reply with quote


As a first time beekeeper i got off to a bit of a rocky start. I received a hive from a friend (it had not been so productive and she wanted to re-locate it and we thought my land would be a good opportunity to give the hive better foraging conditions and for me to learn as i looked after and recorded their progress.)

From the first day there was issues with hornets buzzing around and the bees working hard to keep them out. I spent the next 3 days finding an effective way to block out the wasps while still allowing the bees to enter and exit. In this interim i gave them sugar water at the top and inside of the hive as i understood they would be unable to forage for themselves. After i thought this problem was resolved however i stopped doing this and continued as normal with just normal water outside the hive. Everything seemed fine for a week with no hornets getting in, the queen still laying and the bees seemingly getting on with thier new life. I then decided to leave them alone for a bit (5days) to settle and hopefully start being more productive however when i went back there was not a single bee left. Nothing. not a wing. no eggs. not a drop of honey. all the cells were empty. There were however 7 wasps inside the hive. (ps this hive was clean of varroa or any other diseases)

My question is what happened to all my bees? Were they all eaten by the wasps in just 5 days? Did they swarm off? How could i have acted differently to avert this catastrophe?
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New Bee

Joined: 09 Oct 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Berkshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:59 pm    Post subject: Disappearing bees ! Reply with quote

Hallo new bee keeper. Firstly I am so sorry to hear about the disappearance of your bees, you must be really disappointed ! Don't let this tough start put you off; persevere. Success awaits your good heart.

I am in my second year so fairly new too ! To me the sound of hornets AND wasps around a weak hive is not a good combination. If there were lots and lots of dead bees around the hive then one scenario is that the hornets killed the bees and ate all the brood. The honey was then cleaned out by the wasps. Hornets can kill off a big hive in a few hours.

It may be warm enough in Cyprus for you to get a swarm or package of bees and repopulate the hive (because it has combs in it so this will save a lot of energy and effort on the part of the bees). Feed them 2:1 sugar solution with Hive Alive added so that the new bees can build up stores. Also provide them with Candipolline (use the .5Kg packets). This would be like creating a nuc which would then overwinter and get off to a great start for next year. As a hobbyist you may be willing to put in the effort and cost. If it is not warm enough wait until next year and start over. IF you do put a swarm of package in it will be the ideal time to treat for varroa because there will be no brood and the mites will be on the bees, otherwise treat when you restart next year.

Look forward with optimism and confidence in your abilities. Good beekeeping !
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Site Admin

Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1063
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weak hives are a magnet for predators. If bees show little willingness to defend themselves, wasps and hornets will wade in and finish them off in short order.

Many people have found the periscope entrance to be an effective way to help bees defend themselves, but ultimately, the best defence is to keep your colonies strong.
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

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