Bee Inspection

Neither one of my hives is doing all that great.  They sure started out all gun-ho.  Lots of bees going in and out.  I thought *finally* I'll get some honey.  Then slowly there were less and less bees.  I left my sugar water out until we had at least 3 -- 70 degree days with lots of dandelions blooming, just like I was told to do.  Within 2 weeks of stopping it,  I started up again -- just because I had no idea what was going on.  My thought was.... must call local bee expert Mike.

Before I could call him, he called here -- checking to see how my bees were doing.  His 47 hives have done the very same thing!  They started out all good, and then a real slow down.   He said by now we should be putting on a second super on the regular hive, and we're not even close.  His advise was to keep the sugar water out yet. (yeah, I did something right.  :-)

There are live bees and we will get some honey, just not the yields that are normal.  The interesting thing Mike said, was that the bees that overwintered here are going hog wild!  There are so many of them that they are swarming and their honey yields are way up!

To me that rules out pesticides.  (At least in this case.)  The bees that over-wintered (not mine) and the bees we got new this year from California, are all collecting the same pollen.  The bees that over-wintered did get that warm March weather to get going before April was so cold.  We truly are thinking it is weather related.  The bees we bought had to go through a colder spell before they were really established.  (....and was the queen bred before being shipped?)

I wrote all the above before I checked the bees late Friday afternoon. (2 weeks since the last inspection)

After the hive inspection Friday.....down to one hive.  The traditional hive had a 1/2 cup size ball of bees all huddled in the corner, with no brood ready to hatch that I could see.  I'm too much of a rookie to know if the queen was in the group -- but I do know there were not enough bees to sustain the hive.

I expected to find the same in the top bar hive because there were still very few bees going in and out. 

This was the first bar with comb on it.
They had this built very early...I thought great, no bees.
But...look close, there is brood hatching.
(A really bad picture, but there were no do-overs)

Imagine my surprise when this is what I found between
the second and third bar.  Live healthy bees!  Yeah!

There were this many and more bees on the third bar. ....and on
the back side of the comb more brood ready to hatch.
This is not a lot of bees for this time of year.
But.....I still have a hive trying to survive!  :-)

(Check out my bare hand so close to the bees.....I
do believe I have lost my fear of the bees.
This is a good thing if you are a bee keeper :-)

.....dr momi

Linked To: Homestead Barn Hop #64


Jill said...

I'm so glad for you! This has got to be such a relief and so exciting.

TexWisGirl said...

glad you have one hive still going - and glad you have an expert to talk to!

Candy C. said...

Farming, in all it's different forms, is so very, very risky. I learn soooo much from reading everyone's blogs. I hope your bees come through okay!

Mary Ann said...

I try not to flinch when they fly around me... you are SO brave! I'll cross my fingers and pray that your hives survive this weird weather everyone is having!

becky3086 said...

This was very interesting. I am trying to learn all I can about bees. I want to get some someday but don't know enough yet.

becky3086 said...

Oh and I do hope your bees make it!

Lois Evensen said...

Fascinating! I'm learning so much. Not ready for bees, yet, but this is really so cool!

Michaele said...

Yeah for a happy ending to this post. I was worried for you. Good luck. I want to try this myself someday, so I love all the news.

Chatty Crone said...

I read a story a long time ago on someone's blog - about the bee's and that they are disappearing.

Looks like you have a lot though.

Be careful.

dr momi said... means I get to keep learning this year :-)

Tex....I'm thankful for "my" expert too. Mike sure has taught me a lot so far -- he's always willing to teach.

Candy C. ....farming in all it's different forms truly comes down to skills learned don't you think?

Mary Ann....I finally have my instinct to swat the bees when they fly around me under control. It took a while. Swatting only makes them more likely to sting. I would consider my bees to be extremely "gentle". They really don't get very upset when I'm messing with the hive. It has helped me not be afraid. :-)

Paula said...

I think bees are so fascinating... I'm constantly learning something new with mine.
Your bees sound like the ones we had last year... started out good but then faded... the hive we have this year has already made 4 supers of honey and the only thing I can figure is that we had such an early spring this year~ everything started blooming around here in late February/ early March so they've had lots of time to be "busy as bees"!
Good luck on yours~ hope they make a comeback!

Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

I'm sorry you lost one hive. Hoping the second one makes it and thrives later.

dr momi said...

becky....someone on Twitter suggested it might be mites that got to the traditional hive, I'll be looking that all up and learning about it :-) Thanks for the well wishes!

Lois....I have learned so much over these 2 years doing the bees. I so hope I get some honey this year or it's going to be hard to convince my husband I want to keep going on with this "hobby" :-) one was happier than me to see those bees in the top bar hive! :-)

Sandie....something is going on with the bees. I believe pesticides and GMO's ARE part of the problem. In this case though...have we just bred bees over the generations that have weak immune systems? You wonder if they will ever get to the bottom of it.! 4 supers already!I see honey in your future :-) But that sounds like the overwintered bees here - putting up tons of honey. They liked that early warm weather. Hey, thanks for commenting!

judy said...


Megan @ Purple Dancing Dahlias said...

We are in north central MN and our hives have done the same thing. We are done to one. Maybe my hubby will feel better knowing that its not just his bees that are having problems.

dr momi said... kids can remember when we had a neighbor put bees on our land. We got some comb honey in return...they can remember eating it on fresh popovers. Yum!

Megan....I know I felt better when I heard Mike's 47 hives were doing the same thing. ---I then knew it wasn't my "rookiness" :-) I hope yours and my one hive survives!!