The tiny bee swarm was colony collapse! Did some research, watched a great program “Vanishing Bees”. I had a textbook situation. Failure to thrive, stupid bees, leaving honey, no dead bee bodies. And the kicker was – I laid the frames with wax and some left over honey on the top of,the hives for the local bees to,harvest. IT WAS NOT TOUCHED! Normally bees would come from all around and clean it all up.
The theory is that the bees get into something, insecticides, possibly the pollen of GMO that takes multiple generations to collapse the hive. Bees only live 21 days. I got mine about a year ago. First Summer they just did not do well. Did not take any honey off. I do not like to feed sugar water, and feel the bees do better eating their honey. I expected a strong hive in the Spring. Even asked a friend to be on hand to split the hive in the late Spring. The bees didn’t thrive. They seem to get stupid. Drowning in the water bucket with floats. Flying around crazy sometimes. Not a,hatch orientation or a robbing activity. Just kinda crazy. And then they did the little bitty low swarm. And left the honey. In the new hive, they just buzzed. No coming,and going. Then “poof” they were gone. And the frames on top were not touched by other bees. Not normal bee activity!
I harvested 2 pints of that honey. I don’t think we will use it. If the wild bees won’t eat it – they must know something!