Try posting here when needing or sharing information about the removal of honey bees from unwanted locations.
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Around noon today, a weak hive I reduced to a nuc started to leave. After about 10 minutes, the small cloud returned to the nuc. I figured the queen did not leave with the "swarm" and I decided to wait half an hour to see if there was a queen and why the bees would want to leave. There was a queen and brood in the nuc, but absolutely no honey or nectar. I had a top feeder on the nuc and the bees had taken some over the last 7-10 days, but had not emptied it. I removed the feeder and replaced it with a homemade inner cover with a feeder jar hole in it. I gave the nuc a pint of 1:1 which they emptied in less than 2 hours. I gave them an additional pint late in the afternoon. I had figured the abscond attempt was either the result of starvation or small hive beetles. I was relieved to see that this one was the result of starvation--a problem easily remedied.
No clue. They had taken some, but I spilled out some when I removed the top feeder. It was not moldy or fermented. The sugar water was the same in both feeder set ups. Perhaps it was the presentation they objected to.
Since the attempted abscond, this hive has re-queened. Today, I finally saw some eggs and larvae. It will be a long shot, but I am going to try and over winter this small nuc of bees.