Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Looking Back and Moving On, Part 3

Back in January, I was cheering about how both hives of bees had SURVIVED the winter!

I was premature.

Spring came, first flow was starting, and the bees were buzzing away.

And a week later, there were dead bees on the porch of one of the hives, and in the grass. The ones in the hive were sluggish and slow, and nobody was flying.

And 3 days later, they were all dead. And that had been our STRONG hive.

Our best guess is that they found an attractive source of nectar or pollen that had been sprayed with an insecticide, and the whole hive was busy collecting poison.

It's also possible that some of them starved in the midst of plenty, as we had provided food over the winter, but this hive hadn't seemed to notice.

The hive stood empty for awhile. Then the other hive swarmed. Thousands of bees were coating the branches of the peach tree next to the hives.

I got a cardboard box and the ladder. We swept the bees into the box, and watched as some of the workers started fanning the queen's pheromones from the edge of the box, saying "Here she is! Come home!"

The circling bees started settling into the cardboard box. We walked away for a few minutes to give them a chance to collect into the box.

When we came back, they were all gone.

But the hive seemed to have just as many bees as ever. Did they all decide to move back IN?

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