My second hive was a late small swarm of last year. It had three handicaps: a very late swarm, a small swarm, and a third swarm from the same hive. Here is the beehive where I set it up:
I only put two sections, knowing it was already doubtful the colony would have time to fill them up. To have a chance to survive our winter, a colony should have at least two full sections. With three sections, survival is more likely.
A few days ago, my other colony was very active, while this one showed no signs of life at all. Today is sunny, and again, my other colony is active, while this one was quiet, so I decided to open it. After removal of the roof:
Cool bee art, but no bees. The bottom of the hive section shows some mold, which is pretty common, except mold usually forms at the periphery, not the center like here.
After removal of the top section, the section below was completely empty:
The bottom of the hive showed must less dead bees as I expected. It looks like the colony absconded, or merged with another colony.
I will probably add a new colony from a package in this spot. I may try to put the hive on a stand, as I am not happy with the hive being on the ground, too much moist gets in, as well as ants and other critters.