Monday, 9 January 2012

No Bees

Well, the worst has happened and we have no bees.

We wanted to take the opportunity of the mild weather to do a routine varroa treatment for the hives.  We couldn't risk doing it at th eend of last season, because had brood, and the treatment kills brood. 

It was warm yesterday, warm today, and warm forecast to the end of the week, so it seemed like now or never. Time to treat them, and then mild enough weather for them to recover from the hive being opened. 

So, today, we suited up.  First hive, no bees.  Second hive, no bees.   Very sad, but not entirely unexpected.   At least we know,  and we can bring the hives home, sort them out, and get ready to start with a fresh nucleus in the  Spring. 

We've learned so much, and we'll be better beekeepers next time round.


  1. oh no thats terrible 2 hives!! did they leave or did they just die?

  2. You have our sympathy. It's a terrible feeling to look into a hive and see no bees, or so few that you realise that it's no longer viable.

    But it happens to all beekeepers from time to time. It's even happened to us in the spring, when the rapid growth of the colony outstripped the nectar supply and we didn't realise what was going on.

    But as you say, one learns from these things. We wish you good beekeeping in 2012!

  3. HI BF
    Back in June,we had only 1 hive. We thought we had lost our clipped Queen when the hive tried to swarm... took advice from an expert which was to split into two hives with a queen cell in each hive. There then followed a bit of a saga, where we tried to establish whether or not we were Queenless in either or both hives. Long story, including a possible egg laying worker. We knew at the end of the summer that there was a good chance we'd lose both hives but couldn't risk doing anything else.

  4. Hi JohnNorman

    Thanks for your sympathy - sorry to hear that you lost a colony in Spring. Out of interest, what type of bees did you have?

  5. They were Carniolans. We'd bought them as a nuc, with a beautiful and industrious queen. We let them build up during 2009, fed them through the winter, then were happy to see them apparently thrive in the spring of 2010. The weather took a turn for the worse, but by the time I realised that they needed some syrup it was too late. The queen must have died or absconded with an early swarm. We combined the few remaining bees with another hive.

    The Carniolans were very easy to handle and VERY productive - in our case a bit too much so!