Beekeeping, Gardening and Quilting in Eastern Wake County, North Carolina

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Not my best day . . . .

So late this afternoon, I noticed a strange wasp entering the 2017 Hive and I thought it was a little out of kilter for that to happen. 
Well, let me back up for a minute - on the 16th of October the bees were flying around like lunatics.  There was a cold front coming through and I thought the weather was the reason.  When I checked late Thursday, dead bees were in front of three of the hives.  It was late and I wasn't sure what was happening so I put sugar syrup on all the hives again thinking mosquito spraying might be the culprit.  I talked to Mr. Ellis and later he called back and said it was probably robber bees.  I just didn't add two and two together at the time. 
Well, it was robber bees and then wax moths got in the hives and three of my hives were destroyed.  They were not strong enough to defend themselves and there was not a doggone thing I could have done to save those hives.   But the 2017 Hive was strong enough to ward off the robbers and they seemed to be doing okay and no sign of wax moths in the hive.  I closed the entrance to about 1" and checked the top super - there were lots of bees in the hive.
Until I looked today after seeing the wasp.  They're gone and what were left were dead on the bottom of the hive.  
Robbing is more common in the fall when the bees, wasps, etc. are looking for that last source of food before cold weather. Worker honey bees are normally law-abiding, industrious creatures, but sometimes they can turn to a life of crime – and it may pay handsome dividends.  Robbing begins when a few bees are able to enter a hive and return home with food.  This excites the other foragers to join the raid.  Before long a frenzy of robbing bees will be present at the front of the target hive.  Robbing will continue until the colony is killed and all the honey inside is gone.
I have made many mistakes in keeping bees but never have I lost all my hives.  To say I'm disappointed and upset about this would be an understatement. 
They have been such an important part of my life - I will wait till spring and then decide if I'm up to trying this again.