Monday, April 3, 2017

I Guess It Did

A month ago I reported that the bees were flying in the unseasonably warm weather, bringing in pollen and looking healthy. Sadly, we subsequently had a cold snap that maybe triggered the demise of the colony.

It's hard to know for sure. Were they weakened by the previous summer's drought? Probably. Maybe Queen Beatrix died for real this time. Anyway, after that cold weather, when it warmed up just a bit, I peeked through the window and saw one live bee carrying a dead one toward the entrance. I didn't see any more live bees; usually when light comes in the window they rush to it and that didn't happen. So I worried and I wondered if they were going to make it; maybe they just needed time to deal with that event and there were more in there that I couldn't see.

Nope. Yesterday I went again - it was 55 degrees and sunny, and they should have been flying around. I saw one live bee, sitting on the roof, and the hive floor had many dead bees. Even under the roof there were more dead bees, who all appeared normal to the eye, just dead.

On the advice of one of the beekeeping class instructors I have closed off the entrance to the hive to protect the honey that is still in there (they didn't run out, I can see some) and next week I'll open it all up and clean it out. I have a friend or two who make soap, and I can render the beeswax for them and save the honey for me.

This isn't the year for me to take on more projects so I won't get a new starter colony this year. I'll plan on the following year, if circumstances allow. 


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