sad lessons in beekeeping

sadly, chez farm’s bees died suddenly a week or so ago. i’m not exactly sure why – probably a varroa mite infestation, maybe tracheal mites or nosema. looking back on my first summer of beekeeping, i realize that this was a very weak colony to begin with and there’s really no way they would have survived the winter anyway.

you might recall from my first bee-related post that our bees came very late in the spring this year. due to unseasonably cold and wet weather in the south where the bees are bred, the bees didn’t arrive until the spring pollen bloom was well underway. i was always worried that they’d have trouble getting going but the girls seemed to get off to a decent start at first.

but by mid-summer, they had eaten the little bit of honey they’d made in the spring and really hadn’t started making more. i started feeding them again and they filled the bottom hive body with brood but barely started moving up into the second hive body and certainly didn’t make enough honey to make it through the winter.

i’m disappointed, and so is farmer woob. in fact, she abandoned me to clean out the carcasses by myself because it was too depressing for her to deal with. in addition to some guilt we feel for having our very first colony of bees die on our watch, this means we’ll have to wait another two years before chez farm gets any honey harvest to speak of.

still, whatever else they did or didn’t do, the girls did a bang-up job pollinating chez farm’s vegetable garden and taught us valuable lessons in beekeeping that we’ll put to good use next year. rest in peace, ladies.

honeybee pollinating cucumber blossom

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2 Responses to sad lessons in beekeeping

  1. egerardis says:

    I guess that’s part of the process. I applaud your efforts. I wish to give bee keeping a try as well. Good luck. I will follow your progress from here in California.
    Ellen

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