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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Bee Disappointed

So I noticed something about the bee hive a couple months back: that there weren't any bees coming and going. No guard bee at the door, no beard of bees gathering to go in at sundown.

The repossessed house next door that has sat abandoned for several years, well, I guess the bank finally remembered it had that in its inventory and got a Realtor on it. A sign is in the yard, and a crew came and did some remediation to roughly five years of neglected yard work in the back yard. These are generally good things, it's a nice house and someone should live in it and fix it up a bit.

But I think they sprayed something heavily in that back yard trying to deal with the poison ivy, as well as possibly a broad spectrum insecticide and I think that did the hive in.

I kept putting off really getting into the hive, kept hoping maybe I'd see some activity, like maybe the colony wasn't totally collapsed but just recovering. But I also figured I should harvest whatever honey was there if they were truly gone before ants and other pests got to it.

Obviously, I put it off a day or two. When I lifted the first bar there was, well, nothing. No comb even to speak of. Whatever critters feast on beeswax and honey have been thorough. So that sucks, I guess I'll just have to install a new package next spring. On the plus side, no sign of foulbrood. That was my big fear, that rather than some overzealous spraying, I would open up the hive to find a few sickly bees tending to caved in brood cells with scales in the bottoms of them and whatnot. There are two types of foulbrood and the 'American' variety (American and European Foulbroods are so named because of who identified them, they're both a problem everywhere there are honeybees) is particularly problematic. AFB produces spores, so where European foulbrood can generally be solved by requeening and dosing the hive with antibiotics, with AFB you're having a little bonfire and building new woodenware.

Maybe I'll get lucky and some other colony will swarm and find this little fixer upper.

1 comment:

John said...

Sad to see that whole colony appears to have died off. It is awesome that you are going to try and get more bees in there! Hope it pays off with some good honey!