We are at wombyean caves about 800m so temperate climate We were getting suspicious about our hive, we have lots of bees out everyday on flowering rosemary etc but in the last little while not seeing them going in @ out of the hive but had been busy moving. This morning after watching the hive yesterday opened it to find it 1/2 full of capped honey and no bee's at all. ?
There are 2 queen cells, no brood and the caped honey and empty hive some of it is black presume mould ?
They went into winter with the top box full of honey due to our climate.
There's also plenty of uncapped honey but no pollen to speak of at all. There are a couple of moths and no beetle's or ant's at all. (hive sitting in containers of oil, drums full of water nearby, helps keep the microclimate warmer lost hives to ants last year)
Would the lack of pollen be the issue, a number of weeks ago there were heaps of bee's flying in and out we were having a lot of rain, week in & out so we fed them with the boardman feeder, filled jar with white sugar, added hot water, stirred till dissolved. (50/50) They only ate 1/2 of this 500g jar. This is the only thing we did differently.
The hive is in a north facing cow shed, right at the front, protected from the winds and the worst of the weather getting lots of winter sun. For an unknown reason we had only 7 frames in the bottom and they made a comb to fit that space.
any clues ?