And then there were none…

I’m now officially a beekeeper without any bees. It is amazing what can happen to hive in less than a month. I finally thought I got my remaining hive straightened out with a new queen producing gentle bees, and the hive seemed well on its way storing honey for the lean late summer months we have in Austin.

I went from a hive filled with frames that look like this:

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To a hive of frame after frame of empty comb:

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The interesting thing is there were still many frames of honey in the hive. As I initially approached the hive, and my stomach sank at the sight of little to no activity at the entrance, my first thought was a I had yet another hive get robbed. However, there were at least twelve frames of capped honey still just sitting there. Granted the pests were starting to move in, but the honey was basically untouched. So it didn’t get robbed.

I went through all the frames to see if the queen was around, and I didn’t see her. If she was in there, she certainly was laying. I would say there were a little more than the numbers of bees you would get in a package scattered throughout the hive. I was greeted with this fun sight when I finally got all the way down to the screened bottom board.

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I squished as many as I could to prevent them from flying off and finding another hive to invade. I also found and squished a few wax moths during my inspection as well.

I consolidated all the bees down to one super with 6 drawn frames of comb and 2 of capped honey. I’m debating whether to try and put a queen in there to see if I can save it, or get a fellow beekeeper to give me a few frames of capped brood to see if I can jump start it.

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As for what got the better of this colony, I don’t have a clue. It certainly wasn’t robbed, and I didn’t see any evidence of disease in the frames. The hive was also pretty clean with no dead bees on the bottom board. Perhaps a population boom of varroa mites?

On a happier note, Flat Stanley should be arriving soon to the Isle of Wight before heading off to the south of France and then Australia. I wish him well on his journeys and hopes he finds healthy and productive hives in his travels.

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12 Comments

Filed under beekeeping, death and disease

12 responses to “And then there were none…

  1. Andrea Arcuri

    Your mother feels very badly about your bees!

  2. Holly Medina

    So sorry to hear about your hive problems. You should try to get a couple of frames of brood. Couldn’t hurt to try.

  3. That is so sad! I wonder what happened. When my bees are having trouble with varroa mites, I start to see wing damage on the worker bees and drones. I hope someone will give you some brood frames!

  4. Bradford

    I recently had what appears to be a poisoning which has led to the die off of almost all of my foragers. I checked the hive, and the queen was still laying. I found plenty of capped brood, and lots of nurse bees. The week before, however, there were about twice as many bees. I did observe a significant orientation flight recently, but followed by very little to no activity at the entrance. I am hoping they pull through, and I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this. Anyone?

    • I’ve dealt with a pesticide die-off, and my hive ended up pulling through. As long as your queen is still laying and new bees are emerging, you will most likely be fine. You may just want to keep an extra eye on them for a few weeks to make sure everything continues to go well.

  5. oh no :(

    I can give you some frames of brood if you didn’t already get some. I live in Holly.

  6. Really sorry to hear this :( Sounds very perplexing.

    Would have hoped that Flat Stanley had arrived in the Isle o’ Wight by now, I posted him first class recorded delivery ages ago. If he doesn’t turn up soon let me know and I’ll hunt down the receipt.

  7. Pam

    Hi. So sorry about your hive. I have a big tree that’s dying in my front yard. Is there anything I can do to it to make it a potential home for bees? I wouldn’t be collecting the honey. I plan to leave as much of the tree as possible for the woodpeckers.

  8. Penny

    Hi Bee Keepers,

    I own a furniture store in S. Austin. We open all of the large overhead doors on a daily basis. Today, at any given moment, we would have 5-20 bees flying around in the front showroom.
    Does anyone have any idea why they would appear out of the blue and what I can do to shoo them off?

    Bees re not great for business ;-)

    Thanks!

    • It could be a couple of things. You may have a hive close by. Have you walked around your store lot to see if you see any indication of bees coming and going from a tree or hole in a building? Do the bees seem to be attracted to anything while in the showroom or are they just randomly flying around?

      • Penny

        Hi,
        There are (3) trees around the building and we have searched for a hive but not found anything. Yesterday I only saw 2-3 bees all day. The bees are randomly flying around. They appear to like me ;-(

        I can deal with 2-3. We will continue to look for the source. If they persist I may need some help.
        Thank you for responding.
        Penny

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