Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Queen Bee Alert

It's almost time for the spring packages of bees to arrive.
Packages typically arrive around the middle of April so in
March I get itchy to check the hives & see how the girls have done over the winter.  
This past week it was finally warm enough to pop the top & take a peek inside. 
Usually I rap on the side of hive first & if all is well & gentle hum accelerates.

Unfortuanately, when I rapped there was no answerinh hum.


This is a freaky picture because the bees look so healthy & perfectly perserved!
But....unfortunately, they are dead.  They were down to this little bit of honey in comb.
The queen & her attendants were clustered around it.
We saved the queen & this piece of the comb for William's science project.

Usually, we just shake out the few that are dead onto the grass for the birds to feed on but there were 10's of thousands!  A large colony can have well over 60,000 bees living inside it's walls & these were both big & healthy hives going into the fall.

I had high hopes for them this year!

Unfortunately, there were just too many bees & soon we had to put them in a trash bag.
We said a little blessing to thank them for their environmental work & then put them into the compost pile we've saved for our worm composting.

I've never seen so many bees!  It's a double edged sword with a large & healthy hive going into a long winter....there just isn't enough reserves to get them through to April.

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