The Death of a Hive

Okay, not the complete death of a hive. Just some. Trevor inspected Hive #2 the other night to assess how much they would need to be fed this winter. When he opened the hive it was obvious that the hive had swarmed and left because of a wax moth infestation. We killed all of the larvae and moths we could find.

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This was the hive that was poorly insulated to begin with, so we aren’t entirely surprised that something snuck in. Hive #2 was actually due to be replaced this spring because of some encroaching mold, but we just didn’t get around to it before the move and before the bees started building comb for the year.

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Hive #1 was moth free, however. So that’s the good news. Now we really have no choice but to buy or build a new hive. This time around we will be a little wiser and use a hive with thick walls and a fitting top and lid. Trevor wants to split Hive #1 in the spring and then purchase a new starter nuc with a queen to replace Hive #2. He was blabbering about some sort of Cornelian hybrid… Maybe he will leave a comment saying exactly what he is looking for.

Long story short, the farm is down to one hive to overwinter. Hopefully we will have it together enough to be up to three hives in the spring. Fingers crossed, breath held.

10 thoughts on “The Death of a Hive

  1. Carnelians, yay! Oh you will absolutely love them. They are really robust and will give you oodles of honey. Only problem is they’re a little more ornery than Italians. I had to switch my Carnies to Italians this fall because of a sudden and severe and rather terrifying allergy to bees, but as soon as my immunotherapy shots start working I’m going back to those little black bees in a heartbeat. Also, you folks are relatively close to Koehnen, who raise awesome Carnies.

    Sorry about your lost hive. When mine swarm I like to look at it as donating a colony to the wild…

    • We actually started with Carnelians and loved them. But about the time that Trevor caught the second hive as a swarm, the queen from the first Carnelian hive died and we used the new, second hive to rear a new queen. Then we had all Italians.

      That was my thought exactly! At least they didn’t die, they swarmed and left to live somewhere else.

  2. It’s tough to lose a hive, but I think if you keep bees, you will lose bees. I lost my first hive. They might have been Italians, because they built up real fast and took off two months later. I captured the swarm and located it in a nuc hive, but they wouldn’t have it and took off for parts unknown. The backup queen didn’t get mated or didn’t return. Then the wasps started attacking because the hive was queenless, a laying worker was laying drones, and the whole experience was painful.
    A year later I built a bunch of swarm bait hives and captured two swarms which started my 2012 beekeeping experience. I practice a hands-off policy. I can check my hives by looking through the observation windows which I do every evening. It’s true you can’t see eggs or larva, but you can sort of keep track of the numbers and not disturb them as much. My two hives swarmed 7 times in 2012 which worked into a total of 5 hives which swarmed in 2013 to make a total of 8 hives. I thought I lost one of those because I saw the numbers dropping. I kept waiting for the robber bees to clean it out, but that never happened and now it’s growing in numbers again.
    Last year I caved and fed my two Warre’s but not the log hives. This year I’m going to abstain from feeding altogether. We’ll see how that goes. (see if I can hold strong from temptation to feed)

    • Jeez! Well that makes me feel better… lol. You hit the nail on the head though. Keeping bees is more an art than a science: they are still and always will be wild and thus, you can never really “keep” bees. You can only provide a box, or a log, or a tree for them to live in and hope that they like it.

  3. Wow sorry to hear, we lost out hive last year when hubby got sick. I tried to be the bee keeper but I didn’t do well and the moth did the same to our’s. I’m afraid of the bee’s. But I did try.

  4. I replied on Facebook that we had the exact same thing happen. We went from a few moths that were taken care of to a complete infestation while we were waiting for supplies to arrive. We thought we could at least take the honey from that hive but it’s a mess. I think our little farms are having mirroring problems.

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