March 3rd, 2013. Looks like all the bees in hive #2 (Athena) died of starvation. Live and learn I guess but this was due to beekeeper (ie: our) error.
We fed the bees but the paper lining of the candy board was too thick(?) and they couldn’t get at the food. More pictures and the rest of the story to follow soon.
This is what I saw when I first approached the hive. I thought it was just a few dead bees at first.
All the bees were in the cells face down. I later read that this is a sure sign that they starved to death. Poor little ladies (and gents).
We also found evidence that a critter had been living in the hive over winter. This can be a big problem since it’s warm & there’s free food. The mouse (probably) ate honey & wax and made a moist bed at the bottom of the hive. As bad as that sounds it most likely did not kill the bees since they were up and flying 2 weeks ago.
Bee-pocalypse at the bottom of the box.
They look perfect but they’re all dead.
This is where the mouse ate the comb.
Lesson learned I suppose, late winter really is the most crucial time. The bees made it through all the cold weather but they couldn’t get at the ‘candy board’ of cane sugar that we made 2 weeks ago so they died. Here’s a picture of the candy board:
It looked gorgeous but was obviously ineffective. We scored the bottom all over, and cut a large hole in the paper that’s under the sugar so hopefully the bees in Hive 1, Amelia, can get at the sugar. Let’s hope that’s enough food to tide them over until there’s some spring forage to find.
Here I am gleefully installing the ineffective candy board 2 weeks prior:
Jem building the candy board feeders.
Filled with cane sugar and water and sitting on a sheet of wax paper.
The bee shed.