@TurkeyCreekTrees , @Fusion_power , and others: I suspect I very well may exactly the type of person you all are talking about. I’m new to be keeping and have been very unsuccessful at it. For the last 2 years, one or both of my hives were abandoned before winter, and the one that made it to winter only had about 100 bees make it THROUGH winter (in the whole have- about 1/2 a frame was all the bees left) and they died out soon after spring started. Each of the 2 years I’ve bought a package of bees to start over in my empty hives.
This year I had a good looking hive going for about 2 months. Lots of bees, they were laying eggs and new bees were being produced and they were making honey and storing pollen. Everything seemed to be going well. One mistake I made was adding new boxes to fast, so I ended up with all the bees at the top and near empty boxes at the bottom. But I doubt that caused them to abandon the hive (though maybe??) Then about mid June the bees started leaving fairly quickly and within a week or less the whole hive was empty. There weren’t any dead bees to speak of, just gone. When I opened the hive I noticed that even though I’d had a large number of bees for 2 months, there were nothing but empty comb throughout the hive. I didn’t feed this year (except for the first 3 weeks or so after putting the package in in May) but lots of things were blooming around here.
So what do you think? I never treated for varroa, does this sound like my problem? Sadly, I’m about to throw in the towel on bee keeping. BUT LET ME GO AHEAD AND CONFESS SOMETHING RIGHT UP FRONT… Darrel suggested I educate myself a lot more on varroa and bees, AND I HAVE NOT DONE THAT…I absolutely readily admit that I just haven’t devoted the time and effort to reasearch and education that I should have. If I’d spent 1/2 the time learning about bees that I’ve spent learning about fruit growing, things may have turned out different. So I accept full responsibility for my failure. I just didn’t know bee keeping was so hard and/or required such an investment of time and effort. I know that sounds bad, or even like I’ve been a little lazy- and I have. I guess in the end my heart wasn’t in it as strong as it was into fruit growing then I’d have worked harder. I also blame my original mentor a little bit…he led me to believe that if I didn’t want to, I didn’t have to invest a huge amount and time and effort into learning and caring for bees. He really said I could just buy all the stuff, put some bee packages in my hives, and mostly just let them do their thing. Of course it was naive of me to buy that and I should have done more research both before and after getting into bees. And it really isn’t that I am lazy, its just that in the limited spare time I have I prefer investing into learning about and caring for fruit trees than bees…the result of which is my failure at bee keeping.
Anyway, I still have almost $1,000 of equipment and hives that is just 2.5 years old, so I may try one more time next year. So I’d really appreciate if ya’ll say whether or not my bees abandoning my hive sound like its from Varroa/mites or what? I know you don’t have enough information to know anything for sure. BTW…I used my empty frames with comb from last year, which may have been part of the problen> Thanks all.