So sad this morning as we approached the silence of the remaining hive. The recent blizzard conditions did the damage! The poor girls succumbed to the severe weather.
The wonderful aroma of honey left untouched, wafted up as we finally had some warmer weather when we were actually at the property. We lifted the lid on the bees to check out what happened over the severe weather.
It is an extremely sad sound not to hear the beautiful hum from an active hive. As we lifted the boxes we came across the odd dead bee until finally we lifted the final box to the sight of our beautiful ladies unceremoniously piled in a heap at the bottom of the hive. I couldn’t believe how disappointed I felt at the loss.
So our first foray into bees this season has become part of the huge statistic percentage of failed hives. The varroa mite is the largest contributor to a failed hive and we did have our share of them. Someone suggested “Whiffer” pads to trap them and we did find that worked.
However, I think our loss was the problem of lack of time to really “keep” our bees and pay closer attention to them, as well as the severe storms that we experienced on the Eastern Shore, Virginia and East Coast in general early, in January.
We will need to research the insulating of hives more thoroughly this year and do more homework on how to keep them from fleeing and freezing!
It was sad though and I can only imagine how farmers feel when they lose their herds or flocks as seen during some of Australia’s harshest drought seasons!
Anyway we will borrow a spinner and rob the hive of what honey was left by these before other hives become active and rob the honey.
The other hive was picked clean by the “cleaner team” who worked tirelessly for weeks to ensure nothing was left in the abandoned hive – not even a smidgen of wax or propolis (the “mortar” they use to seal up the boxes) was left. When you consider the effort and time used to build a hive and produce honey I don’t blame them for not having to repeat the process if they don’t have to. This last hive didn’t have time to clean out.
I did find a site that discusses the aspects of insulating which we did attempt but didn’t follow through on, for various reasons. One of his comments is that the moisture content under the roof can sometimes layer, freeze and then in the melt down from warmer whether, fall down and drown the bees. I am wondering if this could have been a major contributing factor as I looked at the mildew at the bottom of the boxes. A link is provided lower down to the site that details more on insulating.
Here are a few lessons I hope we have learned and will remedy this coming year. They are also a reflection of life –
- You have to spend the time in “keeping” the bees. – You can not leave it until you are able or feel like it. Paul laughed at my blog about bee keeping. He said, “We are bee losers not keepers!” Time in any animal husbandry is of the essence. You can’t put caring off.
- Learn more. – Bee keeping is a science and we need more understanding and guidance. We have to be ever learning.
- Learn more about wrapping hives particularly for winter – There is a lot of discussion regarding insulation. I found a great site that explains some aspects of insulating. Click here to check it out There are many opinions but you have to work out what works for you and learn from others’ wisdom.
- Don’t neglect the small things in every day life – There are so many little things in every day life that add up to the greater plan. These bees each only add a small contribution to their hive but each bit adds to the larger scale. They are content and faithful to their “call”. Do we have the same sense of purpose in doing the small things each day? Do the small things with purpose and sense of duty and destiny.
- Persist – Failure is bound to happen you have to keep persisting and try again.
That’s all until the next bee keeping adventure – Part 2
Until next time