Monday, November 10, 2014

Bad news bees

Things didn't look so good for our final check of the hives for the year. We haven't been up there for a while and it wasn't a pretty sight. One hive, the one that had been doing the best, was basically totally dead and so we combined the remaining bees with the hive in the picture above. Chris the beekeeper isn't very optimistic about this hive though and said that she expects them to die over the winter. What is the problem you ask?! Mites. On the picture below it is kind of hard to see, but there are little flecks of white in the comb, which means mites.

Here is the honey we took from the hives, not the best haul.

Winterizing the hive involves taking off the top boxes (aka supers) and putting newspaper over the top of the hive box before putting the cover back. Then we put this wax covered cardboard thing over the hive boxes to help insulate it a bit and plugged up the top holes. I forgot to ask, but I think we left the bottom entrance/exit open still.

Not all is terrible about this situation. It has apparently been a bad year all around for beekeepers in the region due to the chilly spring. If and when the bees die off we can get new colonies next spring and the comb is already made and can be reused for the new hive. They will not have to spend all of their energy making comb and will instead devote it to making more honey. This has been a great learning experience for me and I'm glad I took the leap and got into beekeeping. I have learned so much from Chris and it has been fun getting to know her.

1 comment:

Travis Smith said...

Well, you are going to have to teach me when you become an expert, like next summer.