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I captured a swarm of bees and put them into an old hive with new frames. I noticed a third of the workers were licking the tops of the new frames, and scratched with their legs while licking. A few days later they swarmed and left the hive empty. They abandoned brood and a small amount of honey. Any Ideas about the licking and scratch?
 

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Greetings, I have been working with bees since 1978 and I have seen the bees standing on the outside front of the box and head pointed down scratching the wood moving back and forth. The whole front of a deep brood chamber coated and shimmering with bees doing the same thing. It looks like they are vacuuming. I have asked other bee keepers the same question and even 3 presidents from three different Bee Associations didn't know. As far as your bees leaving, I believe the scouts that were still out looking for a new spot may have come back with a more convincing spot to live. It is hard to believe they left brood and honey behind. It has occurred to me that you may have given them the brood and honey and the Queen smell wasn't strong enough on the stuff you gave them and they were still in a swarm mode. I have had the same thing happen a few time. It can bee very disappointing.....You made a great effort though...Kotos to you. Don't give up : - )
 
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