She’s Alive!

I can’t even explain how happy I was after I opened the bees today. It was wonderfully warm out so I made 4 cups of sugar water and opened things up. The population has dropped DRAMATICALLY, but they’re all still alive. Bees are programmed to continue out their normal routines, even without their queen, or so I’ve read, so that’s what I expected to be happening. The bees had moved themselves over to the three or four frames in front of the entrance, even though there was a frame of brood two frames away. I’m guessing it must’ve froze and was unable to heat back up during the cold snap so they abandoned it. But I checked all of the frames, just to get a full effect of the damage. And I found her. The queen! She was alive and walking around and fine by the looks of things! Here’s a picture. Of course the weather changed as soon as I opened the hive and immediately started getting cold and windy, so the bees clumped together a lot more and she got hidden but you can still find her if you look.


She’s the much darker dot towards the bottom right of the center of the picture. You can only see her behind because the bees started clumping together at this point (and the picture was taken at a weird angle), but she was definitely alive and well!

There’s no new eggs and all the food I gave them last time has been eaten. I would’ve fed them more today but I ran out of sugar. But the queen is alive which means that as long as they can stay warm enough they’ll be fine. I pray it’s warm again tomorrow so I can run to the store and grab some sugar for them. Feeding them store bought honey can be bad because sometimes there’s high fructose corn syrup in it which the bees can’t break down. Which is why buying local honey is always better! Plus it tastes differently every year, at different times of the year.

Anyway, here’s another picture of what the bees have been reduced down to.


I hope they make it through the cold! They’re pretty resilient though. I didn’t know bees could come back from the “dead” like they did. So exciting!


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4 responses to “She’s Alive!”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    I don’t mean to be pessimistic but this doesn’t sound good if the queen has stopped laying. There could be a few reasons she’s done so – she could have run out of sperm, have been injured, it might be too cold (tho if it’s spring and she was laying earlier I’d have thought it would be warm enough for her to lay) or in response to the lack of food coming into the hive.

    As they don’t seem to have much in the way of stores she may well have stopped laying because there isn’t enough pollen and nectar to feed any brood. Pollen is especially important as the nurse bees eat it to create brood food from their hypopharyngeal glands and also feed some directly to the brood. As there’s not many bees left personally I would either combine them with another colony or try and get a local beekeeper to try and give you a couple of frames of brood to get them going again. Otherwise the adult bees will eventually die off and there’ll be no new bees to replace them unless she starts laying soon.

    • willowbatel says :

      I’m assuming it’s due to the lack of food they’ve got, so i’m hopping that once they get themselves reorganized she’ll be laying again. I gave them another 4 cups of sugar water yesterday but i know that the bees have to process that through that special stomache they’ve got just for honey-making before it can be consumed.
      I also considered the running out of sperm factor since she mated at the very end of the season last year. I’m just going to wait it out and see what happens. I don’t want to go and buy more bees if I don’t need to, you know? The bees have started making several new queen cups throughout the hive, but with their numbers so few I think they’re just trying to requeen again.
      I’m definately getting a second hive this year either way though. It’s too risky only having one hive.
      The good news is that with this massive genocide all of the mites died.

      • Emily Heath says :

        Good idea, feed them up with loads of sugar water and hopefully they’ll pull through. They sound like little fighters. Yay for dead mites!

        • willowbatel says :

          Yeah I’m really happy with them. I didn’t think they’d be this resilient. The guy I bought them from said the first queen I had was exposed to a lot of different types of bees, including the wild hive that’s lived in a hollowed tree down the street from him for 10 years. The bees requeened virtually as soon as I moved them to my yard, so this queen isn’t even a year old. I’m hopping she pulls through. I wouldn’t be opposed to them swarming actually. We need more bees in the world!

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