That’s what I keep telling myself. This is a chance to learn.
Thursday afternoon I opened the brown/white hive. That’s the one that started out as a very inadequate nuke, worth less than half what I paid for it – but that’s another story. I’ve been reluctant to open the hives, afraid of what I’d find, but I finally screwed up my courage and...
What I found was:
1. When I opened the box, the bees didn’t do that excited buzzy buzzy thing they usually do when they’re disturbed. It was as if they had no energy whatsoever.
2. Top box (the supposed honey “super” where the bees were supposed to store extra honey) – there was still nothing in the super. Nothing at all. They hadn’t drawn out a bit of comb. The five frames were as empty as the day I put them in there.
3. Middle box – this was the upper of two brood chambers, those two bottom boxes where the bees are supposed to do all their baby-rearing. There were lots of bees, but they were as lethargic as could be. They didn’t object at all when I pulled out the frames one at a time. One frame was completely empty. The other four had some capped brood, the cells with brownish-colored caps where baby bees are getting ready to hatch.
4. The bad news was that there were no eggs, no larvae, no honey, and no pollen, which means that when those baby bees do hatch, they’ll starve to death. And as the older bees die off, there will be no younger ones to replace them unless the queen starts laying eggs pretty soon.
5. Oh yes, the queen. I didn’t see her. If there’s no queen, the hive will die out.
6. There’s hope, because I didn’t open the bottom brood chamber. I was too discouraged by the top one. There’s a possibility the queen is down there, waiting out this dry spell, knowing that there’s not enough forage to feed an increased population.
So – what did I do? I plopped a big quart jar of sugar water on there. At least that will keep them from starving, and give the emerging babies something to eat. As to whether or not the queen will make it – we’ll just have to wait and see.
I’m going to open the box again next Tuesday. Please send good wishes—and prayers if you’re the praying sort. My bees can use all the help they can get.
BEEattitude for Day # 310:
Blessed are those who learn as they go, for they shall find lessons all around them.