Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cleaning out the dead bees

  Yesterday the weather was fine - warmish and sunny so I spent some time outside - planted twenty bayberry bushes and cleaned out one of the hives.
    The hive I was working on was my first hive - and they were dead and moldy. Yuck!

 I know they died of starvation as many of them were head first in comb, obviously trying to get to the last bit of honey in each cell.
you can see all their rear ends sticking out of the cells

The irony is there were probably thirty pounds of honey in the hive when I opened it.
Apparently it was so cold, fairly early on in the winter, and for so long, that they were unable to break from the cluster and move over to the next frame of honey, thus starving. 

So, I undertook the unenviable task of scraping out the dead bees, and gouging out chunks of comb in which many of them had died.  

I feel terrible after all their work to cut out so much comb, but it will get rebuilt by the next ladies in the hive.  I had a few wild bees sniffing around the hive as some of the honey comb dripped a bit, but not the robbing I was anticipating.  My bee guy who I order my packages and nucs from has called postponing the arrival of the new packages three times. At the last notice we should be getting the girls around May 28. Not the most convenient time, but that's what happens. 
    So, the Flower Hive is clear and sealed up to keep robber bees out. 

 This week I will crack open the Blue Hive and get that cleared out before I have to start work on my next show, get into finals week, take my Scouts camping and go to my children's various games and races.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear that you lost a hive.

    I just adore bayberry bushes. Oh, that delicious smell!!!!