Broken Bees

When we got our bees back in April, we were hopeful that they would get a nice head start this year since there was still a good deal of drawn comb from last fall’s hive. But there were problems from the get-go, and it seems that this colony has also failed. 

When we went check on the queen to make sure she was out of her cage, we couldn’t find her, and there was no evidence of her laying. We called the person who sold us the bees right away knowing that if the queen died or failed we would need another right away.

He was not sympathetic. 

The whole thing was incredibly frustrating. You hear a lot about beekeepers being excited to teach other people about keeping hives to try to help protect honeybees, blah blah blah. We had quite the opposite experience, dealing with someone who clearly thought we were stupid and should just wait it out because we didn’t know what the queen looked like.

Long story short: we were right, our queen failed, and then the bees died out, since they couldn’t be replaced in a timely manner.

We had workers laying to try to make up the difference — you can tell because they lay many eggs in one cell — but the hive is pretty well empty now as the bees died out before more could be born to replace them. Here are some of the last ones standing from back in May:

So now we’re out $135 and have learned that we’ll clearly need to find somewhere else to buy new bees next year, since we received no support when we knew we had a problem. That’s the part that’s been really frustrating. So this year we’ll have no honey, no more wax (though I could harvest some of the old comb, I suppose), and we’ll be without our pollinators — we’ll see the difference that makes in a few weeks when tomatoes and other fruits start coming in. 


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