Bad News at the Bee Yard; there’s been a bee-kill

We had bee-class tonight, and as usual before we go, Anita does a quick check of our bee yard, and takes Broodminder readings; I had to take our dog Tillie to the Vet tonight, so we didn’t get a chance to talk or review until bee-class.

I’m looking at the data and see ‘yikes’, our Blue hive might have swarmed…. we see a 10 lb loss in about 6 hours (but it’s hard to tell on the iphone view). Anita says everything looked fine at about 2:45, so we’ll just stop by and check after our bee-yard class.

We did, and what did we see? We saw a bunch of dead bees under the hive; some dead in front, but most were under, but only on Blue hive. It appears that Blue bees got into some pesticide either directly sprayed, or indirectly due to foraging; its been 3 days since heavy rain, and that is often when plants have nectar again, so it makes sense that they were foraging. We’ve seen this at the Bee-Class yard too, where a bunch of bees died off under the hive; the ‘old-timers’ said it was probably a pesticide kill.

It was getting late, so we did not have time to inspect, but we did check the windows on the flow hive; as late as 2:45, Anita saw what we typically see there: (a ‘crap-ton’ of bees, actively working to close up the seams in the cells (there is no honey flow for us yet)). But when we looked about 8:30 pm, there were 4 (four) bees in the flow hive that we could see.

Dang it!

Blue was doing so well; we even took 1 frame of bees and capped brood out of it this past weekend, and put them into the Nuc, cause Blue had 4 capped swarm cells. It had a TON of bees.

There is still a bit of activity at the front of the hive, but a LOT less than usual. I’m hoping the dead bees were mainly the foragers, the house bees are still tending to the brood, and the queen is ok; however, I’m concerned that the foragers brought the pesticide back into the hive, and affected all the other bees as well; no foragers, no house bees, no bees to keep the brood warm… Dead hive.

Due to heavy rain forecast tomorrow, we may not be able to get back to the yard until Friday, to do a more proper assessment. I hope this hive can recover; however, if not, we have the Nuc that we can leverage.

“Almost every emergency of management can be met forthwith by putting something into or taking something out of a nucleus, while nuclei themselves seldom present emergencies.”

– E.B. Wedmore, A Manual of Beekeeping


But this still Sucks!