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Absconding: how frequent, how real?

The following posts relate to absconding behaviors. If it’s not what you’re looking for, the Index can help you find something more specific.


  • Why did your bees leave their hive? You just installed a package of bees in a brand new hive, but the bees don’t seem settled. You check on them the next day and they are the same. Then on the third day, everything is quiet. No sounds come from the hive, and no big-eyed faces peer through the entrance. When you remove ...
  • Two beekeepers watch their bees abscond Oftentimes, what we describe as absconding is actually collapse from varroa mites. Some of the confusion is due to the speed at which the collapse occurs and the size of the affected colony, which may be huge. In addition, the act of absconding is rarely seen and the colony is seldom found. But this week I heard ...
  • Gone! The Oklahoma colonies abscond In an unexpected turn of events, the Oklahoma open-air colony I wrote about last week absconded from its nest. Even more surprising, the parent colony, the one that had lived for many years in the hollow of an oak tree on the far side of the pasture, absconded at roughly the same time. Lorieann Bradley, who ...
  • Absconding: when your bees move on I tend to think of absconding as a “new colony” thing. That’s because I usually hear of it when a beekeeper puts a package in a freshly painted hive made of newly milled lumber, and the bees decide it doesn’t feel like home. New packages often leave in the first week or two, especially if ...
  • Drones under house arrest Beekeepers are frequently advised to put a queen excluder under the brood box to keep a new package from absconding. Since the queen can’t leave, the colony won’t leave either. This is good advice that works well as long as you remove the excluder once the bees have settled in. Since drones cannot leave through the ...
  • My bees left! How to prevent absconding You are a brand new beekeeper. Three days ago you proudly installed your first package of bees according to directions that you read a dozen times. Today, covered in protective gear from head to toe, you open your hive to make sure the queen has been released from her cage. What you find is shocking. The ...
  • My bees swarmed right after installation This is most likely to happen when you install a package of bees in a brand new, never-been-used hive. I’ve heard people say it’s the smell of new lumber they don’t like, or it’s the glue in plywood, or it’s the odor of paint. But it may just be that the bees are not in ...
  • Absconding or CCD? How can you tell if your bees absconded or disappeared due to colony collapse disorder? Many similarities exist between the two and it can be confusing. When a colony absconds, the entire colony leaves the hive including all the workers and the queen. The bees usually take everything with them, including the stored honey, and leave ...
  • Why did my bees leave their hive? swarm on a swingWhy did my bees leave their hive? What would cause a new package of bees installed in a brand new hive to leave in just a few days? What did I do wrong and how can I prevent it in the future? First off, having your new bees abscond is not only heartbreaking, it’s expensive. You ...
  • Christmas swarm saved by caring homeowner About two days before Christmas I got an e-mail from an Arizona homeowner about a swarm of bees that were hanging from the eaves of her house. She said the weather had been unusually warm, but just as it started to change for the worse, the swarm of bees arrived. She didn’t want them to ...