Bee on Guard Throughout the Fall for Healthy Hives

| 9/9/2015 10:20:00 AM

Well, I lost another hive! It comes as no surprise since I’ve been watching it with some trepidation. But let’s start at the beginning.

I was in the hive on August 18 and although it was a small colony, it was doing well — no worrisome signs of disease or pests (varroa and SHB well under control), good humor, a queen, eggs, larva, capped brood and — although less than I would like —ample foodstores. I removed one box so the girls could better defend their home, leaving them with one deep and one medium.

In the days after, I noticed uneven activity at the entrance: One day there would be only one or two foragers a minute; the next the entire front of the hive was bearded! I was flummoxed, but never seemed to find the time or have good enough weather to check them again. . .until yesterday (Labor Day).

The colony was gone and the hive was decimated by wax moths! Nothing was left in that hive — no brood, no food, and no dead bees! Twenty-twenty hindsight made me realize that due to the worsening conditions in the hive, the girls had probably absconded. And that the off-and-on activity at the entrance was most likely due to the colony trying to convince the queen that it was time to go!

So, I was left with one less hive and hours of work, cleaning up the mess left behind. I cut out and disposed of all the comb and scraped and washed the woodenware, and left it in the sun to dry. The only ones who benefited from this disaster were my chickens who happily helped me dispatch the wax worms!

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