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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I began my 11th year of beekeeping in April 2016. Now there are about 1275 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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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
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Deep Dilemma

My hive in Rabun county died. Robin Line with whom I play Words with Friends wrote me a note on our ongoing game to tell me that there had been a pesticide kill and all the bees were dead.  He told me he had removed a large pile of bees from in front of the hive and that there had been no activity. They had sprayed Roundup on part of their garden to get rid of weeds and the next day the bees were dead.

He was sick about it and got a late spring nuc to replace the bees so I went up to the farm and installed them. I took apart the dead hive and felt just ill to see the thousands of dead bees inside the hive on the screened bottom board:


So I dumped the bees out and started over.  As I drove from Atlanta (leaving all my equipment behind except for two medium boxes), I started to remember that the new hive would be housed in a deep nuc.

Oh, no.  I didn't bring a deep with me and I couldn't remember what had happened to the deep I had up in the mountains for one of the two hives I had last year.  Perhaps I had taken it back to Atlanta.  If I were lucky, maybe it would be in the basement in my house in Rabun county, but I didn't remember exactly storing it there.  Although as I thought about it, I began to convince myself that of course it would be in the mountain house basement.

Then I decided that it wasn't there and that I had taken it home to Atlanta.  Worried about this and unable to listen to my book on tape for the thoughts in my head, I called Julia to confer about what I might do.  Suppose I didn't have a deep?  There were two hives up at the farm last year and I had left a two box medium hive and a three box medium hive which was the one that survived the winter (then killed by Roundup).

We talked about maybe I could put two medium boxes (empty) one on top of the other and put the deep frames in the top of the two boxes.  The bees would build comb extending from the bottom of the deep frames into the remaining about 3 inches but that would be OK.  So that was what I decided to do...make a make-shift Warre hive.

I stopped at the mountain house and sure enough, no deep hive in the basement.  I arrived at Robin's farm about noon.  I stopped by the barn where I had left a box and lo and behold, it was the deep from last year.

Problem solved.


I installed the hive into the deep and put two medium boxes on top of that with some drawn comb in each one.

This hive will collect honey to make it through the winter but we will not harvest from it.  The sourwood hasn't started blooming yet in N Georgia (although it may have begun about now) and they can gather nectar from it for the winter.

Cross your fingers that this hive survives and thrives!


7 comments:

  1. Any way to request the owners of the property not use pesticides, both as a learning opportunity (they may be shocked to know they just killed a colony of bees) and as a preventative measure (to keep your new/replacement hive from suffering the same fate)?

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  2. They were totally shocked that using Round-up on the flower garden killed the bees - I don't know why they didn't anticipate it. They were shocked and will not use it going forward. Typically they have been "organic" farmers and are part of the movement in Rabun County to have an organic community garden, so I was very surprised that this happened. They are my dear friends and felt terrible about it.

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  3. Round up is an herbicide, not a pesticide. I'm really surprised it had any effect at all on the bees. Did they mix it with some other product?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous9:32 AM

      Wow! I can't imagine that something that kills plants on contact would also be dangerous to animals that consume it! Surely it's completely non-toxic to non-plants right? Monsanto wouldn't lie!

      Delete
  4. Anonymous5:40 PM

    I expected roundup was dangerous for bees. I've seem some research suggesting it makes them more susceptible to nosema. But admit I'm a bit shocked that it killed them outright. Food for thought.
    Vincent - ames apiaries - Canada

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  5. We had hives at Chastain Park in Atlanta where the use of Roundup totally devastated the hives. We moved the hives and won't put them there again. MABA has hives there this year and I'll be interested to see if they do OK, given the use of Roundup within feet of the hive as a regular feature. Typically bees do fly at least 100 yards from the hive to gather nectar and pollen, but I think it's nearness to the hives creates a hazard. And, yes, Roundup, herbicide or no, and any pesticide is dangerous to bees since they fall into the category of pests!

    ReplyDelete
  6. http://www.nyrnaturalnews.com/article/is-roundup-killing-our-honeybees/

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/hazards-of-worlds-most-common-herbicide-zmaz05onzsel.aspx

    Just for starters - don't tell me Roundup doesn't kill bees. It isn't DESIGNED to kill bees.....but that doesn't mean it doesn't kill bees.

    ReplyDelete

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