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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Trouble in Bee World


One of our two new beehives is doing fantastic. We've already added one medium super to that hive and The Boy is suspecting we'll be adding another one next week. (Which means that hive is going strong and making lots of honey.)

The other hive, however, has struggled from the beginning. A few weeks ago, The Boy and his beekeeping friend Nick found what appeared to be supersedure cells in the frames which meant that the queen was not adequate and the bees knew it... they were preparing to create a new queen. He quickly ordered and replaced the queen himself, but during the setback, the weakened hive got infected with Small Hive Beetles (which unfortunately were not being caught in the traps). The beetle larva hatched in the cells and have been destroying it at a rapid pace.

We are trying to find ways to treat the hive in hopes of saving it without the use of chemicals. Right now The Boy is trying the freezing method and now we have the larva-infected frame in our deep freezer. This is a less aggressive treatment, but with daily inspections, he hopes to help the existing bees take care of the problem. The hive may be a loss for the year, but at the very least it is a hands-on learning tool from which we are gaining valuable experience.

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5 comments:

  1. Aw that stinks but I'm glad you have one healthy hive :) How far apart are they?

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    Replies
    1. Only a few feet, they are both out by our big garden. Cliff has been working on the "bad hive" pretty consistently since the problems started and I think it is starting to come back around. The "good hive" is doing great and producing lots of honey, so *maybe* we will get a little off of it this year. We'll see :-)

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  2. hi.
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  3. Good luck with your "bad" hive! We have a similar issue - one really active hive (so active that it made it hard to work the bees) and one that is growing at a much slower rate. We just added our second hive bodies (which we probably should have done sooner). Let us know how this your bad hive does! Your lessons might help us out. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! We are definitely still learning too. Luckily we have a very good local mentor who has been a tremendous help. He's the one who helped us figure out there was a problem in that hive. Otherwise we might not have caught it until it was too late.

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