Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Heartbreaking Inspection

Last week, we installed two new bee nucleuses into 2 of our hives. Therefore, we were excited to do an inspection to check on the status of the installed nucs. A bee nucleus is a miniature hive that you can purchase instead of a bee package. It usually consists of 4 - 5 frames with a laying Queen, and the frames should contain brood, pollen, and honey. I just love the look of the old nuc frames next to the new bee frames in our new hive!
The new bee Nucleus is looking great, the Queen is laying well and there was pollen in the frames which meant they have been foraging well. However, what's not looking great is the green hive. For the 3rd week in a row, we've seen a pile of dead bees in front of the hive. It's completely heartbreaking. We think it's probably a poisoning of some sort, most likely pesticide spray. We thought by now that whatever the bees were exposed to would have gone away from all the rain we've been getting. But seeing this means they are still being afflicted. Not knowing who is spraying makes this incredibly frustrating. Because the bees are obviously feeding on sprayed plants.
We saw a lot of bees on their backs unable to flip themselves around.
I took this video of the honeybee on her back. When I pulled the cover, she was moving her legs trying to flip over, but she did not have the strength to do so.

I filmed the front entrance of the hive as well. The bees in the front were walking around disoriented and shaking their bodies. They don't normally act like this. It makes me extremely sad.

Here is the inside of the hive. More of the same strange behavior. The only thing we can really do is to wait and see if the bees can overcome this. Hopefully there are still enough worker bees in the hive to get all the tasks done in the beehive. Luckily, the Queen is still alive and laying well. Since she is still alive and healthy, we have hope the hive will bounce back. We had pesticide poisoning happen to our hives before in the past and the hive never recovered from it. The numbers dwindled and they didn't make it through the winter because there weren't enough of them to keep warm. Hopefully this is early enough in the season that the Queen will keep continuing to lay and the numbers will go up.

Next, we went to the other beehive location. Fortunately for us, the beehives are doing amazing. The Nucs have a couple of frames of nicely patterned brood. That means the Queen is laying really well. Look how beautiful this frame is.
Here is a closeup of another frame. This was full of bees, honey, and brood.
We spotted the Queen on another frame. This Nuc came with a marked Queen which makes it so easy to find her. None of our other hives comes with a marked Queen. Look how amazing she looks!
After we finished with the inspections, we headed over to the farmer's market which is a few blocks from the beehives. Our beehost told us that they had a farm vendor there that sold free range eggs for only $4 a dozen!  $4!!! What an amazing deal! The farmer's market near my apartment sells free range eggs for $6 a dozen, so this is a great bargain! You really can't beat fresh farm eggs from a local farm. Incredible!
Look at these beauties! Aren't they gorgeous? Now that I know where to find fresh eggs like that, I'll be stopping by here every time I go beekeeping from now on! Score!!! Great find!

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with those bees, breaks my heart reading it. Can you give us a update on this? I want to know more.

    Also $4 eggs... AMAZING! A friend just got chickens on the roof so we're going to start trading greens for eggs!


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