Mark spent most of yesterday doing bee yard maintenance. When he got home, he was tired, sore, and bothered. One of the hives at Barhams' Bee Yard appeared to be in great distress and queenless.
Due to other work, he'd not inspected those hives in a month. When he was there 2 weeks ago, he said he noted the bee traffic appeared fine going in and out of all of the hives. He said he'd likely take the porch bees to see if he could save the bees that were left in the struggling hive.
When I got up this morning, he'd been awake since 1:40 a.m., researching. His conclusion: the bees he saw were robbing the hive. He suspects the original hive -- which has been weak all along -- finally gave up, and the other bees are removing the honey from the frames to store for winter.
"The top super had no honey in it at all," he said. "It was dry as a bone."
His plan of action is to leave the hive for a couple more days to see if the bees will rob all of the honey out, then retrieve the entire hive so wax moths don't set up shop. We'll store the empty honey frames in our deep freezer until the spring, when he'll split a strong hive and give it a queen to start a new colony.
So much for bragging we'd made it through the season without any losses.