Checking my hives always brings excitement and turmoil. Last Friday was no different. I started with Coraline and Susannah, the two nucs (five frame hives) who share a box.
Coraline and her colony were gone altogether and I felt devastated. On further investigation, they still had plenty of food stores, hive was mold-free and mite drop was low. The amount of bees at the bottom indicated that the hive was queenless and the remaining bees left to join other colonies.
Next door, Susannah seemed to be doing well! Lots of bees, food stores and even some brood! I’m pretty sure I exclaimed loudly, “you have babies!” when I saw the larva and capped brood,
The next three hives, Evangeline, Adeline and Beatrice, also had babies! I relished the feeling each time I came across the frame with the capped brood and larva!! And if you are wondering, yes, I talk to my bees throughout my checks.
After closing up the final hive, I noticed a bit of a frenzy happening over by the entrances of the nucs. I’ve had past experience with this and knew it could mean trouble! I immediately removed the unguarded frames of honey out of Coraline’s empty box so they didn’t have anything to rob.
Afterwards, I sat and watched as the robbers started to invade Susannah’s hive! Ach! Quick change of plan — I put back a frame of honey and opened the entrance to lure the invaders away from Susannah.
At this point, I was helpless and couldn’t do anything further, so I packed up my equipment and went to the Jets Whiteout Street party smelling like smoke from my smoker - my usual perfume for the summer!
I watched the entrances Saturday and Sunday, not much action taking place for Susannah. I lost sleep thinking about it and decided to do another check. Low and behold, seems the robbers got to the queen and the colony lost more than half of the bees I saw in there on Friday.
Tomorrow I will see if the bee store has any queens, highly doubtful as beekeepers place their orders in the fall. We’ll see what happens next.