A week after I discovered the death of Knives, I had the not so fun task of taking her hive apart. A wax moth was the first thing that greeted me when I opened up the hive:
Only a few bees remained in the hive. This was on what was once a beautiful frame of pollen:
I don’t know if these are SHB or Wax Moth larvae, but either way they are gross:
Another sad frame:
All that remains of this hive:
I managed to salvage 8 frames which happened to be the newest ones on the top of the hive and disposed of the rest. While I’m pretty sure the hive was robbed (more on that later), I decided to play it safe and not try to recycle frames that may be carrying disease.
The day I took the hive apart just happened to be the annual Viva la Vida Fest at the Mexic-Arte Museum so we dressed up as bees to honor Knives’ hive.
I had a disappointing trip out to Baab-Brock Farms today to inspect Knives 2.0’s hive. While I was smoking the hive, I noticed a lot of dead bees on the entrance which is unusual. It went downhill from there after opening up the hive. There were only a few bees on the inner cover and only a handful in the topmost super. There was also a wax moth just hanging out as well. The next super had fewer bees but 2-3 frames of capped honey.
The next super is when I knew something was terribly wrong. This was a honey super but had all the classic signs of robbing. The wax capping on the honey looked ripped open and all the frames were completely drained of honey. I didn’t have my normal camera crew with me otherwise I would have liked to get some photos.
Each additional super was the same story. No honey, no brood, and just a few remaining sad bees bravely trying to stem the tide of small hive beetles and wax moths which had invaded the weakened hive.
I now need to do some research on what to do next. I think it is too far in the season to save it. Do I just leave it alone and let nature take its course, or do I remove it and try and save as many frames of drawn comb as I can?
While I have yet to receive the formal report, I did get an e-mail from Dr. Vaughn Bryant confirming my suspicion that the thick woody smelling honey I pulled off two of my hives was in fact honeydew honey.
Here is the text from his e-mail:
I did complete the pollen study. It does not contain any pollen but it does contain lots of honeydew elements and thus, it is what you suspected….a honeydew sample. I was going to take some pictures of the fungal spores in the honeydew and send them to you. However, I was at West Point Military Academy lecturing last week and just returned.
I’ll post a follow up when I get the official results, but it is at least nice to know the girls aren’t dumpster diving for food.