Exhuming White Hive

I finally took apart White Hive, thinking it wouldn’t be too messy and I would still get some honey out of it. Everything was covered in a mint-green powdery fungus. There’s lots of honey in the top box, but I have no way of getting it without it getting mold in it. So I think I’m just going to leave it for the bees. I plan on splitting Trunchen Hive, which is doing perfectly fine so far as I can tell from the outside, and putting the split on top of White Hive. I’ll probably just take one of the boxes with brood in it and put it on top of White Hives telescope cover. that way the langstroth box is still protected from the elements, since the Warre’ boxes are smaller all the way around than the langstroths. After they have sufficiently filled in the Langstroth’s box, I plan to drive all of the bees out of the Warre’ box and return that box to Trunchen Hive. 

Anyway, all that is still months away. Here’s some pictures I took of the lower brood box in White Hive.

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There were a few frames like this one, which makes me think that the cluster was too oblong and also too large when they died. I genuinely thought that I had experienced colony collapse disorder because there weren’t any bees visible at first glance. I went through the box frame by frame though and eventually found the cluster.

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I found a fairly decent pile of bees at the bottom of the hive. There’s a large pile up just outside the entrance as well, so I know that they bees were able to clean the hive out a little bit before they died. My guess as to why they didn’t make it through the winter is because they started out with too large of a brood nest. There were several frames with a few capped brood cells on them, and I found a fair few eggs scattered about as well.

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Here’s a picture of the queen. She’s in the exact center of the photo. She’s much smaller than she usually is, but the presence of eggs on other frames tells me it wasn’t because of her failing that lead to the death of the colony. There was only one frame in the bottom box that had been left relatively untouched, and there was white pollen in a large portion of the bottom of the cells. It was too cold to bother pulling a part the top box; the propolis was impossible to break apart, and there was no hope for a reward of honey haha. That said, I turned the box on its side, and saw that a noticeable portion of the lower edges of the frames had been occupied at some point, even with the noticeable weight difference in the top box.

I plan on leaving the top box alone, and scraping off the frames from the lower box. That way new wax can be made. I’m debating whether or not I want to remove the foundation from these frames, because the bees definitely prefer not having foundation. I was thinking I would just run wires through it or something… I’m not sure. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. 

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2 responses to “Exhuming White Hive”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    Poor things. Unusual to see such a large colony die out.

    • willowbatel says :

      yeah! I couldn’t find any specific reason that they would’ve died out, except that the brood nest could’ve been too large at one point. But even then, they could’ve shifted around and reached stores in the upper box. And it was only bellow freezing a few times this year. I don’t know…

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