Two weeks ago we did a hive inspection to check on the health of the hive. The hives looked good, and we found healthy eggs and larva. Hive A seemed to be especially strong, and Hive B seemed weaker. Both hives had some hive beetles, but it was nothing to be concerned about as we were putting Swiffer pads into the hives. When hive beetles walk over the Swiffer pads, their legs get stuck in the small fibers. We remove these Swiffer pads after one week, and place new ones in.
The next week when we went into the hives to remove the Swiffers, the honey super of Hive A (the top box) looked very empty. The super was completely full of honey, and the bottom boxes contained larva and pollen. There were no dead bees on the bottom board, and a normal number of dead bees on the ground outside the hive. We concluded that the bees absconded. Absconding means that the bees, usually in a strong hive, leave their hive along with all of their stores. Absconding can happen for many reasons, but we are pretty sure they absconded because they were stressed from the mites in the hive.
Because the bees absconded and left behind their honey stores, we gave a full super of honey to Hive B to try to help them get stronger before it gets cold. The other three frames of honey that we did not give to Hive B we kept for ourselves. We had to freeze the comb to kill any potential wax moths or hive beetles before filtering the honey. I filtered the honey this weekend, and ended up with two 1-pound jars and four 4-oz jars. If anyone is interested in buying these jars of honey, please email me at email@example.com. I will be in touch with people who have not yet received their jars of honey this weekend.
Final Note: We are hoping that Hive B will make a comeback, however this is very unlikely because they have been weak for the last few weeks.
Above: full frame of capped honey