The Hive That Couldn’t
I checked my aunts bees on Friday, and they hardly weigh anything. I don’t know what the issue was, because there were capped worker cells in the top box, and they had plenty of time and resources to expand properly. They never even moved down into the third box. My aunt was excited about getting some honey, but they didn’t even have enough honey for themselves. She’ll feed them this winter and hope they make it through. I would be truly amazed if they did. I just don’t understand why they never tried to requeen themselves or anything. Maybe they were being robbed all summer? There are plenty of flowers in the area, and there are dozens of different species of bees in my aunts garden alone. There wasn’t any sign of mites, and I checked the floor for them specifically. The hive was clean, the bees were active, there just wasn’t much in the way of honey or pollen. There were even empty frames in the top box!
Several of the bees in the colony had bright red/purple patches on their “skin”, and I think they must have some genetics from that strain that creates purple bees. What’s it called? “Midnight” or something? I dunno, but they were pretty. There were also some very brown bees in the mix. Almost almond colored.
Meanwhile my bees have been coming and going by the thousands, and should have plenty of food to make it through the winter. If they don’t make it through the winter then I think I’ll just stay bee-less next year because I’ll be away at school all summer and won’t have time to go up north to manage them.