Saturday, October 13, 2012


Absconded?  One of my honey bee colonies has vanished.  Possibly it disappeared weeks ago, and the bee traffic I had been seeing was the other hives robbing out the stores.  But today, there were yellow jackets going in.  And when I peered down between the frames I could see clear through to the ground below.  There was no cluster of bees.

Yellow jackets rob out the abandoned comb.
It was my most cantankerous hive, and nearly every sting I received this summer came from there.  I assumed it was the queen's temperament, and was thinking of re-queening if they survived the winter.  But maybe it was just a hive under stress.  

Inside the hive there was no sign of disease or damage.  The bottom board had a hundred or so dead workers, but that counts for nothing in a colony that numbers in the tens of thousands.  The bees seems just to have left or faded away - nothing but the eerie emptiness of colony collapse.

I took what honey remained and gave it to the lighter of my two remaining hives.  I put the rest of the frames - either empty comb or filled with pollen - into the shed for spring.  If no raiders loot it in the meantime, the pollen might help a new colony launch when the nectar starts to flow again . . . 
hot dogs at the campfire