I’ve taken far too long to write this up, but I’ve been rather pissed off to be honest! We’ve lost one hive of bees since February. They were alive when I checked and I’ve been feeding them but I noticed that the feed wasn’t going down. Due to the weather, I couldn’t “go in” and see what was what in case I did them some harm with the cold and damp. I wish I had to be honest.
We had a warm day about three weeks ago, so I looked in, still food left, but no sound, no movement from within. Fearing the worst, I lifted the crown board a little to peek inside, nothing. Hmmm not good.
Given that it was reasonably warm, and that I had my cloth cover with me, I whipped off the crown board and I was met with a scene of carnage. Every single bee was dead and they were all lying in a heap on the floor. Why? They had starved to death.
Even with the fact that there was lots of feed on hand and close by, it seems as if they refused to leave the cluster and eat. This happens (I’ve been told by Peter) and there’s not a lot we can do. The cold, damp weather may have kept them in the cluster and they would not have moved away to feed – starving themselves to death while there was plenty of food all around.
Every cell in each of the 5 frames that had drawn out last year was totally clean. A couple of bees had died “head down” in the cells looking for the last of the stores that they had accumulated. I find this all quite distressing – so much food, so many deaths.
This was our first swarmed hive too, with a new queen. We still have lots of bees in the original hive, but Queenie is a “red spot” and is now in her fourth year, so we may need to re-queen to keep that hive going strongly. We don’t want her to be laying drones all the time – that’s fatal for a colony.