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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Demise of the Hive

Such a sad feeling to open up a robbed hive.  I avoided it most of the day, but then realized I had to do it - I had to know what the situation was.  I've had robbing before and the hives have made it through but my heart sank when I opened the robbed hive and saw……only dead bees.




I took it down to the bottom.  The bees on the SBB were sad and some were still alive but unable to move to get up and fly.







I looked for the queen in the dead but did not see her.  I did find in one box clustered between the wall and the first frame a handful of bees.  There was still some honey unrobbed but no brood - all those cells which had brood on Thursday - were empty today.

I just feel sick.  I wonder if I did something at the inspection on Thursday to set this off.  Did I open the cappings of honey as I pulled frames from the box?

Then I remembered that the reason I opened the hive on Thursday was because I had seen very little activity and had wondered if something were wrong.  I was surprised to find the hive full of bees.  It wasn't boiling over, but there were bees in every box, new eggs and brood.  I had worried about honey and all of my bees but this hive had plenty of honey (thus the robbery).

I wonder if they had possibly already had problems and the robbing just cinched their fate.

I feel heartsick.  This has been a hard year.  I have had more hives this year than every before, but I have now lost five hives without the winter being the issue.  And most of the losses have been in my own backyard - not in the outyards that I also manage.
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5 comments:

  1. Linda, I am so sorry that you lost this hive. Maybe next year will be better. I am sure you learn from it all.

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  2. Anonymous4:58 PM

    Chin up Linda! This summer in the space of three hours I witnessed two gruesome things. The first was a cat "catching" a mouse (it teased and tortured the poor thing for ages before killing it!) and soon after was in the shed and heard a buzzing sound....It was an insect in a spiders web. It took ages before the spider had eventually wrapped the frantically buzzing insect up alive...My point here is, is that you are working with the bees in nature and in nature survival can get ugly!
    You do a great job and love and respect the bees (your co-creators) so don't be too hard on yourself and nature...that's just how it is sometimes.
    Greetings
    Warren

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  3. Anonymous12:31 PM

    It is less risky to open a beehive evenings, before dusk.

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  4. Anonymous7:14 AM

    Linda, new to this site, but I too have experienced 4 hive loses since Sept. the forth just this weekend. I am feeding the bees yet two show starvation with bees head in tail out od cell. I am so sick in heart. It is cold here but some warm days. What could be the problem?

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  5. Bees can starve in a hive full of honey if it's cold and they have clustered in an area where there is no honey or where they used it all up. If it's too cold they can't move to where the honey is and therefore starve even in the face of plenty.

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