What crud is this?
Here’s another mystery for all you hive detectives. Mark, a soon-to-be beekeeper in northern California, purchased three beehives from an ex-keeper who decided to quit after his bees absconded. Mark performed a cursory inspection of the equipment before purchase, but after getting it home and examining more carefully, became concerned about the crud shown below.
Being a cautious individual, Mark is concerned that the seller may have had a brood disease—well, not the seller but his bees. He wonders if the seller might have scraped the comb free of evidence before the transfer.
According to the seller, the colonies were productive, but after a winter of neglect, disappeared without a trace. He also said they were not diseased. But Mark says out of all three hives only a few frames had a little bit of drawn comb on them. The rest were either undrawn or scraped clean.
So where is the comb? Why would he scrape it all away? Some wax moth cocoons were evident, but not many. Perhaps the comb had been destroyed by wax moths and the mess cleared away because it looked so bad?
The photo shows one of the plastic frames and the crud. In my mind, it looks like the remains of old brood cells and some dried up pollen. Mark wants to know what to do to ensure the health of his bees which he hopes to get next spring. Your insight, comments, theories, suspicions, and advice will be greatly appreciated.