Beeless Once More
It was warm when I came home today; warm enough that the bees should’ve been out. They weren’t though. I mean 0 activity. So I went over and lifted the lid to have a look and the bees weren’t moving hardly at all. The majority of them didn’t move at all. Which I took to mean they had died because I moved them too far apart and they couldn’t handle the cold. So I went inside, put on all my gear, and went back out to seriously investigate. I took out some of the frames from the top first. They were all bunched together, as expected, but none of them moved. I brushed them off onto the hillside behind me to start the process of cleaning out the hive. Some of the bees had gone into the combs to stay warm and died there. It was kind of sad to see. Like each individual bee had her own little wax tomb. Some of the bees that had been on top of the combs were moving sluggishly, but I’ve seen bees do that when they spent the night outside of the hive and they usually end up dying the next day.
I left that frame out and pulled out a second one, which was in a similar state. I brushed off the bees that I could, left that frame next to the other and moved on to the second box. There was a mound of dead bees lying on the top of the frames, which I moved onto the hillside also. By this time some of the bees were getting warmed up from the sun and were beginning to move around, so I took my brush and ran it over them, in the hopes that it would aggravate them and get them more active. Some did start flying around but for the most part those that were alive just got a little more excited and then calmed back down.
I picked up each frame individually and looked through them for the queen. I took care to shake as many bees as I could off on to the hillside in the hopes that it would warm up more of them and the death toll wouldn’t be as large as I thought it was. I found the queen and I’m 90% sure she was dead. I picked her up and took her over to show F and S, my neighbors, who were watching me from the fence. She didn’t move at all but I left her in the sun just in case.
There was about an inch and a half of bees at the bottom of the hive and I left those there. I left the bees out on the hillside to warm up and went in and made 4 cups of sugar water. They had NO honey in the hive whatsoever, which makes me think that it was a combination of starvation and cold that did them in. Which made me feel slightly less guilty, but still bad because it means I should’ve fed them sooner. There just wasn’t an opportunity with the weather and all.
So, what this means is I’ve basically got a dead hive. If the bees couldn’t handle the cold then the larvae sure couldn’t, and with no queen the hive is doomed. I’m just hoping the remaining bees will help remove some of the bodies from the frames. I’ll probably buy another nuc of bees because I want honey this year. I’m debating whether I want to buy them from B or not. I’ll probably get them from him, just because his bees are good native bees. If my hive had had enough food they would’ve been fine. That’s my belief anyway.
I am sad they died though. L