I live in Indianapolis. Had a new swarm put into my warre hive late April. The bees were doing great—lots of activity, collection of pollen, drones. Then about August 5th the population plummeted. When I finally opened it up on the 15th- here is what I found: 2 boxes of honey comb—mostly empty. No honey. Brood spread out across the combs. About fifty to a hundred dead bees at the bottom—some missing heads or insides of lower bodies. What do we think happened? And more importantly, can I reuse this hive to try again next year? I just scraped it out. Is that sufficient?
Thank you both for the responses. Here’s some more info: The previous year, I also had tried package bees in the and they were doing awesome. I had the warre hive with 2boxes and then last summer I started reading about mites and got scared so did two oxalic vapor treatments according to strict guidelines 3 weeks apart. Well, by October there were only a few left. I figured they absconded because there was either a dearth of pollen, it was too dry, the hive body was too small and they didn’t have enough honey reserves, did the mite treatment too early, etc. in truth, it probably was a combination of all of those things.
In any case, this year I moved the hive to a part sun location facing northeast, near a small koi pond I installed for a constant water source and further away from neighbors who may be spraying for mosquitoes. There was on hive body of comb and honey and since all the bees just left one day, I kept that for them. This year, I bought two more hive novels (total of 4) and bees from a local beekeeper who caught a swarm. The bottom box was empty, then the box with old comb/ honey, then two new boxes at the top. I also set out some sugar water (1:1) with honeybhealthy. They found it the first day, but largely ignored it and I saw a lot of pollen going in, so I stopped. I also kept the entrance down to about an inch so they had a better chance of not being robbed.
Things this year appeared to be going great. But then they took off. The bottom box was full of comb/old brood, so evidence of a queen. Maybe they got crowded—but why would they not use the top two boxes? Did notice brown staining on insides of top boxes-but wasn’t on outside. With no honey in there—it must have been that they left awhile ago and came back and got their honey or they were robbed and crowded and left.
For next year, I scraped it out completely. Didn’t keep any comb although that may have been a mistake. Will feed them next year. Do you think I need to treat the new ones for Noxema or just let them be bees? Is 4 warre hive boxes large enough (about 10in x 10in) each or should I add a fifth?